(This article appeared on Sept 21 2018 on the forum of the Living Discipleship Initiative. For more information on this Initiative, please contact us.)
Dear fellow travellers,
being a member of the Living Discipleship Initiative group for two years now is a multi-level deep experience, rich in learnings, insights, challenges and achievements, making me feel silently joyous, and something like humbly proud.
I would like to share with you in this first essay some of the hurdles I grappled with in preparation for this experiment, in the hope that it might be helpful for others who may face similar challenges upon the prospect of entering a more direct, conscious and intent relationship with our Elders.
When I met the Bailey teachings as a young person, forty years ago, the idea of a spiritual kingdom had immediately resonated with my highest instinct and intuition, and also my Christian upbringing. From young childhood my heart was aflame with love for the Christ. The concept also made logical sense: there are the kingdoms below the human, and so, as part of the chain of evolution it stands to reason that there are kingdoms above the human. I noticed how the most advanced members of the animal kingdom profit from the interaction with humans. Human love and mental stimulation bring out a hidden potential in animals, make them more human-like. In logical sequence advanced humans may profit from contact with the next higher kingdom, the kingdom of realised souls.
Reading in DK’s and many other wisdom teachings that the time was upon us when the spiritual kingdom will approach the human, I had considered on and off the idea that members of this kingdom may appear on the physical plane in my lifetime. Following DK’s request I did the Christ Meditation every Thursday for many years, affirming with all my heart: “forgetting the things which lie behind, I will strive towards my higher spiritual possibilities. I dedicate myself anew to the service of the Coming One and will do all I can to prepare men’s minds and hearts for that event. I have no other life intention.“
My heart was in resonance and in fiery aspiration, but there was a kind of glass ceiling which kept my engagement with the Coming One theoretical and general.
Like most students of the Wisdom teachings I was very well trained to keep an open mind and refrain from fixing an opinion about things I cannot as yet know or prove – to keep them in a status of hypothesis. The problem with this otherwise healthy scientific approach, in this case, was that I viewed the externalisation of the spiritual kingdom in a passive way, rather than as a living process which required my participation. I believe that I am not alone in facing this conundrum. In our long efforts of transforming ourselves from a mystic to an occultist, in our practice of dis-identification and dis-passion, it is vital to develop the detached observer and give precedence to our minds. This capacity is what has placed us at the forefront of human endeavour.
However, taking the next step in the planetary evolution – cooperation with the higher kingdom – brings us to the limits of our mind. We must break the glass ceiling. This breaking requires of us to embrace back our heart, to listen to it, and even allow it to be our compass while crossing over this threshold. This is a frightening prospect. We have been warned so strongly not to succumb to glamour. And it takes the mind to guard against it. My long years in Jerusalem taught me to be extremely careful with religious glamour. I had come to the conclusion that my approach in my service work had to be as ‘religion-neutral’ as possible, not only in my outer words but in my innermost being. So in a painful long process I had divested myself from my childhood belief and my fierce yearning for the Christ. I built up a School for Universal Spirituality, in which the higher kingdom existed, but in a general, unspecified way. This would leave the mostly Jewish students free to develop their own higher affiliations. The emphasis of the School was on building a sense of self and on nurturing a soul experience. Soul experience naturally leads us into the higher world. The more tangible and solid our experience of ourselves as a soul, the more we become a conscious member of the kingdom of souls. This then enables us to relate to others as souls as well, and from there the prospect of having a conscious relationship with our higher coworkers is not so farfetched anymore. I did experience a continuum of higher guidance and cooperation in my service throughout the years, which I did not deny but also did not dare to engage with beyond a practical acceptance whenever it occurred. This was a slow and safe path.
It was the worsening state of the world which woke me up to think this through beyond my own safe development: “the world crisis demands urgent action. How can we possibly manage this dire situation by ourselves? DK states clearly that the higher forces MUST be invoked. We spiritual students stand on the frontline, we need to be the ones to do this and thereby create the possibility for the higher kingdom to reciprocate.”
The impact of this recognition finally broke through my reticence and activated my will to become a consciously engaged participant in this planetary process through daring to take a further step in my relationship with the higher worlds. That’s when the invitation came to take part in the Living Discipleship group experiment.
The inner note of the Call from the Mountain and the Phoenix Letters had evoked a resonance from my heart. And now I was intrigued by the prospect of a group experiment. However: coming to terms with living a life based on higher guidance as an individual was already a stretch to my sense of integrity; the prospect of living a group life based on higher guidance demanded more than I had bargained for. I realised that to accept this invitation would not merely stretch my careful dance with the dictates of my fear of religious glamor; it would mean to rally up Courage and Presence of a more vital kind, and to expose and transmute this fear altogether and make myself available in a much fuller way to respond to the growing urgency for responsible, active cooperation with on-high.
Very central to the breaking of my self-imposed ring-pass-not was for me to think through my relationship with receiving guidance from a higher source, whether through myself or someone else. How can we determine that indeed it is received from a higher source? How do we know that it is pure? How do we know if this guidance comes really from where we think it comes? The truth is that we can’t know. At least not in the beginning. I realised that I needed to embrace the fact that taking a risk is unavoidable. If I wanted to take a real step towards cooperating with the higher worlds, there would be no way around opening myself to Experience and trusting that something inside me will learn to distinguish between truth and illusion. This experiment on the new frontier of human endeavor would be one of trial and error – like every pioneering foray. It takes courage to be ready to err, and a conscious, clear-eyed decision.
DK’s Statement, printed on the first page of all His books, serves me as an ever present reassuring guideline. He encourages us to keep an open mind, and to ascertain the truth of the material by right practice and by the exercise of our intuition. It’s a process. He likewise encourages us not to accept what does not resonate with our highest senses.
On this basis, I said Yes to the Living Discipleship group experiment.
Whatever part of our group guidance is resonating with my highest instinct and intuition I accept, and that which is not, I allow myself not to accept. I keep the question whether this guidance, or any part of it, comes indeed from the Ashram of Master Morya or not, as an open research question. I take the guidance on face value, and I grapple and work with it. In my understanding, this is the stance of modern, living discipleship. It’s a discernment practice which requires constant alertness, constant deep engagement with the input, active participation rather than passive believing and accepting.
The answer to this research question cannot come from outside. It must be found, developed, ripened, within myself. This approach leaves me mentally free and fresh, and allows me to stand in my own integrity. In this mental freedom I can then truly listen. When reading between the lines of our guidance, or during our group meditation, or while engaged in some group assignment, or in the hypnagogic state between waking and sleeping, I have glimpses of recognition, of resonance, of a higher Presence, of a guiding hand. Gradually a specific note common to those impressions is discerned. It is like a slow motion getting-to-know process. The active listening and interpreting of these subtle experiences is a continual process of sharpening and trying out my antennas and cultivating the organ within me that determines the truth, which DK calls ‘the esoteric sense’.
This approach of a combination of free, detached observation and active engagement in the experience has become a safe bedrock on which I can stand in my fullness, including my doubts, my questions and that which I am in process of ascertaining.
And from this solid footing I can launch the bridge to the higher kingdom – through opening the heart. I find that to open up to the possibility of actual, direct, tangible contact with members of the spiritual kingdom takes a sustained effort to face all remaining inner resistances. We all want the love from our Elders, we yearn for it more than anything. But there are the layers of fear and protection, accumulated during eons of perceived abandonment. Perhaps this eons-long perceived separation was a necessary phase in our human evolution, in order to become self-reliant, to develop a sense of self. We can only meet the other when we ourselves are somebody. But now, to transcend the limits of the separating mind and allow genuine, direct communion with on-high to happen, we need a healed heart. It takes time to build up trust to open the heart again. It is a work in process.
Our ‘interdimensional group lab’ is an accelerator, constantly stimulating me to keep to the task of removing the obstacles from my mind and heart to allow the Love and the Joy and the Purpose of our Elders to touch me, to fill me, to transform me, and to radiate through me into my field of influence.