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INTRODUCTION

[1]

INTRODUCTION

What finally decided me to write about my life was a letter I had in 1941 from a friend in Scotland who said that he felt that I would really render a service if I could show people how I became what I am from what I was. It might be useful to know how a rabid, orthodox Christian worker could become a well-known occult teacher. People might learn much by discovering how a theologically minded Bible student could come to the firm conviction that the teachings of the East and of the West must be fused and blended before the true and universal religion—for which the world waits—could appear on earth. There is value in knowing that the love of God antedates Christianity and recognises no boundaries. This was the first and most difficult lesson I had to learn and it took me a long time. It takes all fundamentalists much time to learn that God is love. They assert it but do not believe it in practice, God's practice I mean.

I would like, among other things, to show how the world of human beings opened up to a very class-conscious English woman and how the world of spiritual values with its direct, inner, spiritual government became a proven fact to an exceedingly narrow-minded Christian. I glory in the name of Christian but I now belong to the inclusive kind and not the exclusive.

One of the things that I seek to bring out in this story is the fact of this inner direction of world affairs and to familiarise more people with the paralleling fact of the existence of Those Who are responsible (behind the scenes) for the spiritual guidance of humanity, and for the task of leading mankind out of darkness into Light, from the unreal to the Real and from death to Immortality.

[2] I want to make the Disciples of the Christ who are the Masters of the Wisdom, real to people, as real as They are to me and many thousands in the world. I do not mean a hypothetical reality (if we may use such a phrase) or as a subject of faith and belief. I want to show Them as They are—Disciples of the Christ, living men, and ever present factors in human affairs. Those are the things which are of moment and not the earthly experiences, the happenings and events in the life of one of Their workers.

I have lived many incarnations in one. I have moved forward steadily but with exceeding difficulty (psychological and material) into an ever widening field of usefulness. I want to show that in each cycle of experience, I did sincerely try to follow a leading, coming from within, and that when I did, it always meant a step forward in understanding and a greater ability, therefore, to help. The result of this apparently blind moving forward (as when I married and came to the U. S. A.) was extended opportunity. I have played many parts in my life. I was an unhappy, exceedingly disagreeable, little girl, a society girl in the gay nineties (which I didn't find so gay) and then an evangelist of the "Billy Sunday" type and a social worker. Again—not so gay, except that I was young and tremendously interested in everything. Later, I married Walter Evans and found myself functioning as the wife of a rector of the Protestant Episcopal Church in California and the mother of three girls.

This varied experience of living and working in Great Britain, Europe, Asia and America led to basic changes in my attitudes to life and people. To remain static in a point of view strikes me as unintelligent. It means that there comes a point in one's development when one ceases to learn, when one fails to extract the meaning out of events, schools of thought and circumstance, and when one remains [3] mentally quiescent in the face of life. That is disaster. That is evil. That, surely, is what hell must mean. The awfulness of hell (in which I do not believe from the orthodox point of view) must lie in "everlasting" sameness, in a forced inability to change conditions.

I became next an occult student, a writer of books which have had a wide and constant circulation and which have been translated into many languages. I found myself the head of an esoteric school—all unwittingly and without any planned intention—and the organiser, with Foster Bailey, of an International Goodwill Movement (not a peace movement) which proved so successful that we had centres in nineteen countries when the war broke out in 1939.

I have not, therefore, been useless where world service is concerned but I do not, and cannot, claim that my success has been due to my personal efforts alone. I have always been blessed with marvellous friends and helpers who—down the years—have remained my friends, no matter what I did to them. I have had many such friends and a few—a very surprisingly few—enemies. These latter have done me no real harm, perhaps because I could never dislike them and could always understand why they disliked me. My husband, Foster Bailey, has for over twenty-five years made all my work possible. Without him I feel I could have accomplished very little. Where there is deep and abiding love and understanding, respect and unbroken comradeship, one is rich indeed. He has been to me a tower of strength and "the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land." There are things which are damaged by expression in words and which sound meaningless and futile when written down. Our relationship is one of them. For many lives we must have lived and worked together and we both look forward to many more. I have no more to say on this subject. What, I often ask myself, could I have done without the understanding [4] friendship, affection and staunch cooperation of my many friends and co-workers who for years have stood by me? I cannot list them but they are the people who are essentially responsible for the success of the work we—as a group—have done.

The reason for this autobiography is therefore a threefold one, for there are three things upon which I want to lay the emphasis, and which I hope will emerge into clarity.

First of all, the fact of the Masters of the Wisdom, Who work under the guidance of the Christ, I want to make clearer the nature of Their work. I want to present Them to the world as I personally know Them, because, in the years that are coming, more and more people will testify to Their existence, and I would like to make the way easier for them. This I will enlarge upon later and show how I personally came to know of Their existence. In everyone's life there are certain convincing factors which make living possible. Nothing can alter one's inner conviction. To me, the Masters are such a factor and this knowledge has formed a stabilising point in my life.

The second thing which I would like to do is to indicate some of the new trends in the world today which are definitely influencing mankind and raising the human consciousness. I want to point to some of the newer ideas which are coming out into the world of human thought from the inner group of Masters and which are ushering in a new civilisation and culture and—incidentally from the angle of eternity—destroying many old and beloved forms. In my life I have seen, as have all thinking people, the disappearance of much that was worthless in the field of religion, of education and of the social order. And that is very good.

Looking back, I can imagine nothing more appalling than the perpetuation of the Victorian era, for instance, with its ugliness, its smugness, and the excessive comfort of [5] the upper classes (so-called) and the frightful condition under which the labouring classes struggled. It was in that well-padded, sleek and comfortable world I lived when a girl. I can imagine nothing more blighting to the human spirit than the theology of the past with the emphasis upon a God who saves a smug few and condemns the majority to perdition. I can imagine nothing more conducive to unrest, class war, hate and degradation than the economic situation of the world, then and for many decades—a situation largely responsible for the present world war (1914-1945).

Thank God, we are on our way to better things. The group who have shared our work—along with many other groups, responding to the same inspiration of love of humanity—will have done our tiny part in bringing about much needed changes. The world trend towards federation, towards understanding and cooperation, and towards those things which will benefit all and not just a chosen few is of encouraging importance. We are on our way towards brotherhood.

The third thing which I would like to do is to show how wonderful human beings are. I have lived on three continents and in many nations. I have known the very rich and the very poor, intimately and from the angle of close friendship; the very highest in the world have been my friends and the very lowest; and in all classes, nations and races I have found the same humanity, the same beauty of thought, the same self-sacrifice and the same love of others, the same sins and weaknesses, the same pride and selfishness, the same aspiration and spiritual objectives and the same desire to serve. If I can manage to bring this out with clarity and force, that alone will justify this book.

In the long range of human history and placed along with the world's great Figures, who is Alice Ann Bailey? [6] A quite unimportant woman who was forced (usually against her will) by circumstances, by an actively intruding conscience, and by a knowledge of what her Master wanted done, to undertake certain tasks. A woman who was always scared of life (perhaps partly due to an oversheltered childhood); who is naturally so shy that even today, if she has to go to a luncheon party, has to muster the courage to ring the bell; who is very domestic and loves to cook and wash (and God knows has done her full share of it) and who hates publicity. I have never been robust but have enormous vitality. All through my life I have been forced to spend weeks and sometimes months in bed. For the last eight years I have been kept alive by medical science, but—and this is one thing about which I could say I am proud—I have kept going on, in spite of it all. I have found life very, very good even when having what most people regarded as the worst possible time. There has always been so much to do, so many people to know. I have only one basic grumble and that is that I have always been so tired. In an old churchyard in England there is a tombstone which has on it words which I can fully understand.

Here lies a poor woman who always were tired.

She lived in a world where too much were required.

Weep not for me, friends; the land where I am going

There'll be no more dusting or sweeping or sewing.

Weep not for me, friends, though death us may sever.

I am going to do nothing for ever and ever.

Now that really would be hell and I don't want to go there. I want to take a new and more adequate body and come back to gather up the old threads, find the same group of workers and go on with the job. If the story of my life encourages another ordinary person to push forward, this book will be worth while; if it leads some person with aspiration [7] to launch out in obedience to spiritual impulse, something will have been gained and if I can give strength and courage and a sense of reality to other workers and disciples that will be good.

You can see, therefore, that as a life story mine does not matter much. As a means, however, of proving certain facts which I know to be essential to the future happiness and progress of humanity—the fact of the Masters, the unfolding future for which the world war (just ended) is but a preparatory stage, and the possibility of telepathic and direct spiritual contacts and knowledge—what I say may prove to be of service. Many isolated mystics, disciples and aspiring men and women down the ages have known all these things. The time has now come when the masses of men everywhere must know them too.

So here goes for the story of my life. Do not be misled. It is not going to be a deeply religious effusion. I am a flippant and humorous person and almost painfully ready to see the funny side of things. Between you and me, people's profound interest in themselves and in their souls and all the intricacies of related experiences almost staggers me. I want to shake them and say, "Come outside and find your soul in other people and so discover your own." What is going on in people's minds and hearts and what is happening in the world of men is the fundamental interest. The broad sweeps of human progress from the primeval age to the dawn of the impending new civilisation is of interest and all of spiritual import. The self-disclosures of the mystic of medieval times have their place but it lies in the past; the achievements of modern science (though not man's use of these revelations) are a major modern spiritual factor; the struggle that is going on between political ideologies, between capital and labour and the breakdown of our past educational systems are all indicative of a divine and spiritual [8] ferment which is leavening humanity. And yet the mystic way of introspection and of divine union must precede the occult way of intellectual realisation and divine perception. It always has in the life of the individual and of humanity as a whole. The mystic and the occult way, the way of the heart and the head, must fuse and blend and then humanity will know God and not just "feel after Him if haply they may find Him."

This personal knowledge of God will, however, come by living normally and as beautifully as possible, by serving and by being interested in others and thus being decentralised. It will come by recognising the good life and the good in all peoples, by happiness and an intelligent appreciation of opportunity—one's own as well as other people's. It comes through full and complete living. In the English graveyard where my parents are buried there was a tombstone (the first that caught one's eye on going through the gates) and on it the words, "She hath done what she could." To me it always seemed so doleful—the epitaph of a failure. I regret I have not done all I could, but I always did my best as I saw it at the time. I worked. I made mistakes. I agonised and I rejoiced. I had a grand time living and I am not going to have a bad time dying!