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I. The Growth of Soul Influence - Part 1

Before taking up our subject as outlined at the close of the previous volume, I would like to speak a word as to the symbolism we will employ in discussing egoic and personality control.  All that is said in this connection is in an attempt to define and consider that which is really undefinable and which is so elusive and subtle that though we may call it energy or force, those words ill convey the true idea.  We must, therefore, bear in mind that, as we read and consider this treatise on psychology, we are talking in symbols.  This is necessarily so, for we are dealing with the expression of divinity in time and space, and until man is consciously aware of his divinity and demonstrating it, it is not possible to do more than speak in parable and metaphor with symbolic intent—to be ascertained through the medium of the mystical perception and the wisdom of the enlightened man.  As is often glibly said with little real understanding of the significance of the words used, we are dealing with forces and energies.  These, as they cyclically run their course and play upon and intermingle with other energies and potencies, produce those forms in matter and substance, which constitute the appearance and express the quality of the great all-enfolding [4] Lives and of the Life in which all "lives and moves and has its being."

The unfoldment of the human consciousness is signalised sequentially by the recognition of life after life, of being after being, and the realisation that these lives are in themselves the sum total of all the potencies and energies whose will is to create and to manifest.  In dealing, however, with these energies and forces, it is impossible to express their appearance, quality and purpose except in symbolic form, and the following points should therefore be remembered:

1. The personality consciousness is that of the third aspect of divinity, the creator aspect.  This works in matter and substance in order to create forms through which the quality may express itself and so demonstrate the nature of divinity on the plane of appearances.

2. The egoic consciousness is that of the second aspect of divinity, that of the soul, expressing itself as quality and as the determining subjective "colour" of the appearances.  This naturally varies, according to the ability of the soul in any form to master its vehicle, matter, and to express innate quality through the outer form.

3. The monadic consciousness is that of the first aspect of divinity, that which embodies divine life—purpose and intent, and which uses the soul in order to demonstrate through that soul the inherent purpose of God.  It is this that determines the quality.  The soul embodies that purpose and will of God as it expresses itself in seven aspects.  The monad expresses the same purpose as it exists, unified in the Mind of God Himself.  This is a form of words conveying practically nothing to the average thinker.

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As these three expressions of the One Great Life are realised by man on the physical plane, he begins to tune in consciously on the emerging Plan of Deity, and the whole story of the creative process becomes the story of God's realised purpose.

In the first place, as the third aspect is consciously developed, man arrives at a knowledge of matter, of substance and of outer creative activity.  Then he passes on to a realisation of the underlying qualities which the form is intended to reveal, and identifies himself with the ego, the soul or solar angel.  This he comes to know as his true self, the real spiritual man.  Later, he arrives at the realisation of the purpose which is working out through the qualities, as they express themselves through the form.  The above paragraphs are only a summation of what has been earlier said, but it is necessary that there should be real clarity of thought on these matters.  It is apparent as we study, how this entire sequential process of realisation pivots around form manifestation, and has relation to the quality and purpose of the divine Mind.  This will inevitably be clear to the man who has studied the theme of A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, which deals specifically with the creative process and with manifestation.  It deals therefore with the outer personality expression of that great all-encompassing Life, which we call God, for lack of a better term.  We need to bear in mind that our universe (as far as the highest human consciousness can as yet conceive of it) is to be found on the seven subplanes of the cosmic physical plane, and that our highest type of energy, embodying for us the purest expression of Spirit, is but the force manifestation of the first subplane of the cosmic physical plane.  We are dealing, therefore, as far as consciousness is concerned, with what might be regarded symbolically as the brain reaction and response [6] to cosmic purpose,—the brain reaction of God Himself.

In man, the microcosm, the objective of the evolutionary purpose for the fourth kingdom in nature is to enable man to manifest as a soul in time and space and to tune in on the soul purpose and the plan of the Creator, as it is known and expressed by the seven Spirits before the Throne, the seven planetary Logoi.  But at this point we can only hint at a great mystery, which is that all that the highest of the Sons of God on our manifested planetary world can grasp is a partial realisation of the purpose and plan of the Solar Logos, as it is grasped, apprehended and expressed by one of the planetary Logoi Who is (in His place and term of office) conditioned and limited by His own peculiar point in evolution.  A seventh part of the unfolding Plan is being expressed by our particular planetary Life, and because this great Being is not one of the seven sacred Lives and is therefore not expressing Himself through one of the seven sacred planets, the Plan as unfolded upon the Earth is a part of a dual expression of purpose, and only as another non-sacred planet reaches its consummation can the whole plan for the Earth be realised.  This may not be easily understood, for, it has been said, only those who are initiate can grasp some of the significance of the statement that "The twain shall be one and together shall express divinity."

All that concerns humanity at this time is the necessity for a revelation and a gradual apprehension of the Plan which will enable man to

a. Work consciously and intelligently,

b. Realise the relation of form and quality to life,

c. Produce that inner transmutation which will bring [7] into manifestation the fifth kingdom in nature, the Kingdom of Souls.

All this has to be accomplished in the realm of conscious awareness or response, through the medium of steadily improving vehicles or response mechanisms, and with the aid of spiritual understanding and interpretation.

With the bigger questions we will not deal.  With the consciousness of the life of God as it expresses itself in the three subhuman kingdoms, we need not concern ourselves.  We shall deal entirely with the following three points:

1. With the strictly human consciousness as it begins with the process of individualisation and consummates in the dominant personality.

2. With the egoic consciousness, which is that of the solar angel as it begins with the preparation for initiation on the Path of Discipleship and consummates in the perfected Master.

3. With the monadic realisation.  This is a phrase that means absolutely nothing to us, for it concerns the consciousness of the planetary Logos.  This begins to be realised at the third initiation, dominating the soul and working out through the personality.

Man, the average human being, is a sum total of separative tendencies, of uncontrolled forces and of disunited energies, which slowly and gradually become coordinated, fused, and blended in the separative personality.

Man, the Solar Angel, is the sum total of those energies and forces which are unified, blended and controlled by that "tendency to harmony" which is the effect of love and the outstanding quality of divinity.

Man, the living Monad, is the veiled reality, and that which [8] the Angel of the Presence hides.  He is the synthetic expression of the purpose of God, symbolised through revealed, divine quality and manifested through the form.  Appearance, quality, life—again this ancient triplicity confronts us.  Symbolically speaking, this triplicity can be studied as:

1. Man.............the Angel.........The Presence.

2. The root.......the lotus...........the fragrance.

3. The bush.......the fire.............the flame.

The work of evolution, being part of the determination of Deity to express divinity through form, is necessarily, therefore the task of revelation, and as far as man is concerned, this revelation works out as the growth of soul evolution and falls into three stages:

1. Individualisation....................Personality.

2. Initiation...............................Ego.

3. Identification........................ Monad.

1. The Three Stages of Egoic Growth

We must hold the following statements firmly in our minds.  The personality is a triple combination of forces, impressing and absolutely controlling the fourth aspect of the personality which is the dense physical body.  The three personality types of energy are the etheric body, which is the vehicle of vital energy, the astral body which is the vehicle of the feeling energy or sentient force, and the mental body which is the vehicle of the intelligent energy of will that is destined to be the dominant creative aspect.  It is upon this truth that Christian Science has laid the emphasis.  These forces constitute the lower man.  The solar angel is a dual combination of energies—the energy of love, and the energy of will or purpose—and these are the qualities of the life thread.  These two, when dominating the third energy of mind, produce the [9] perfect man.  They explain the human problem; they indicate the objective before man; they account for and explain the energy of illusion; and they point out the way of psychological unfoldment, which leads man (from the triangle of triplicity and differentiation) through duality to unity.

These truths are practical and hence we find today such dominant emphasis laid upon the understanding of the Plan amongst esotericists; hence likewise the work of the psychologists as they seek to interpret man and hence also their differentiations as to the human apparatus, so that man is seen—as it were—dissected into his component parts.  The recognition is emerging that it is man's quality which outwardly determines his place on the ladder of evolution, but modern psychology of the extreme materialistic school erroneously supposes that man's quality is determined by his mechanism, whereas the reverse condition is the determining factor.

Disciples have the problem of expressing the duality of love and will through the personality.  This statement is a true enunciation of the goal for the disciple.  The initiate has the objective of expressing the Will of God through developed love and a wise use of the intelligence.  The above preamble lays the ground for the definition of the three stages of egoic growth.

What, therefore, is individualisation from the standpoint of the psychological unfoldment of man?  It is the focussing of the lowest aspect of the soul, which is that of the creative intelligence, so that it can express itself through the form nature.  It will eventually be the first aspect of divinity thus to express itself.  It is the emergence into manifestation of the specific quality of the solar angel through the appropriation, by that angel, of a sheath or sheaths, which thus constitute its appearance.  It is the initial imposition of an applied directed [10] energy upon that triple force aggregation which we call the form nature of man.  The individual, on the way to full co-ordination and expression, appears upon the stage of life.  The self-aware entity comes forth into physical incarnation.  The actor appears in process of learning his part; he makes his debut and prepares for the day of full personality emphasis.  The soul comes forth into dense form and on the lowest plane.  The self begins the part of its career which is expressed through selfishness, leading finally to an ultimate unselfishness.  The separative entity begins his preparation for group realisation.  A God walks on earth, veiled by the fleshly form, the desire nature and the fluidic mind.  He is a prey temporarily to the illusion of the senses, and dowered with a mentality which primarily hinders and imprisons but which finally releases and liberates.

There has been much written in The Secret Doctrine and A Treatise on Cosmic Fire on the subject of individualisation.  It can be simply defined as the process whereby forms of life in the fourth kingdom in nature arrive.

1. Conscious individuality, through experiencing the life of the senses.

2. The assertion of individuality through the use of the discriminating mind.

3. The ultimate sacrifice of that individuality to the group.

Today, the masses are occupied with the task of becoming conscious of themselves, and are developing that spirit or sense of personal integrity or wholeness which will eventuate in an increased self-assertiveness, that first gesture of divinity.  This is well and good, in spite of the immediate complications and consequences in the world consciousness and state of being.  Hence also the need for the immediate guidance of the disciples in every nation and their training in the life of [11] correct aspiration, with their subsequent preparation for initiation.  The task of the intelligent parent today and of the wise teacher of the young should be that of turning out, into world activity, those conscious individuals who will undertake the work of self-assertion in the affairs of today.  The mass psychology of accepting information indiscriminately, of giving prompt mass obedience to imposed limitations of personal liberty, without due understanding of the underlying reasons, and the consequent blind following of leaders, will only come to an end through the intelligent fostering of individual recognition of selfhood and the assertions of the individual as he seeks to express his own ideas.  One of the basic ideas underlying all human and individual conduct, is the necessity for peace and harmony in order that man may specifically work out his destiny.  This is the deep foundational belief of humanity.  The first developed evidence of the emerging self-assertion of the massed individuals must therefore be turned in this direction, for it will constitute the line of least resistance.  There will follow then the eradication of war and the establishing of those conditions of peace which will bring about the opportunity for trained and carefully cultured growth.  The dictator is the individual who has, under the process, flowered forth into knowledge and power, and is an example of the effectiveness of the divine character, when permitted scope and as the product of the evolutionary process.  He expresses many of the divine potentialities of man.  But the dictator will some day be an anachronism, for when the many are at the stage of individual self-awareness and potency and seeking the full expression of their powers, he will be lost from sight in the assertion of the many.  He, today, indicates the goal for the lower self, for the personality.

Before, however, the many men can be safely self-assertive, there must be an increased appearance of those who have [12] passed beyond that stage, and of those who know, teach and demonstrate, so that the many constituting the intelligent group, composed of the self-aware individuals, can then identify themselves discriminatingly with group purpose, and submerge their separative identities in organised group activity and synthesis.  This is the predominant task of the New Group of World Servers.  It should be the aspiration of the world disciples today.  This work of training the individuals in group purpose must be accomplished in three ways:—

1. By personal, imposed identification with the group, through the experience of understanding, service and sacrifice.  This can well constitute a useful self-imposed experiment.

2. By the education of the masses in the principles underlying group work, and the training of an enlightened public opinion in these concepts.

3. By the preparation of many in the New Group of World Servers for that great transition in consciousness which we call initiation.

What, therefore, is Initiation?  Initiation might be defined in two ways.  It is first of all the entering into a new and wider dimensional world by the expansion of a man's consciousness so that he can include and encompass that which he now excludes, and from which he normally separates himself in his thinking and acts.  It is, secondly, the entering into man of those energies which are distinctive of the soul and of the soul alone—the forces of intelligent love and of spiritual will.  These are dynamic energies, and they actuate all who are liberated souls.  This process of entering into and of being entered into should be a simultaneous and synthetic process, an event of the first importance.  Where it is sequential or alternating, it indicates an uneven unfoldment and an unbalanced [13] condition.  There is frequently the theory of unfoldment, and a mental grasp anent the facts of the initiatory process before they are practiced experimentally in the daily life and thus psychologically integrated into the practical expression of the living process on the physical plane.  Herein lies much danger and difficulty, and also much loss of time.  The mental grasp of the individual is ofttimes much greater than his power to express the knowledge, and we have consequently those outstanding failures and those difficult situations which have brought the whole question of initiation into disrepute.  Many people are regarded as initiates who are only endeavoring to be initiate.  They are not, however, real initiates.  They are those well meaning people whose mental understanding outruns the power of their personalities to practice.  They are those who are in touch with forces which they are not yet able to handle and control.  They have done a great deal of the needed work of inner contact, but have not yet whipped the lower nature into shape.  They are, therefore, unable to express that which they inwardly understand and somewhat realise.  They are those disciples who talk too much and too soon and too self-centeredly, and who present to the world an ideal toward which they are indeed working, but which they are as yet unable to materialise, owing to the inadequacy of their equipment.  They affirm their belief in terms of accomplished fact and cause much stumbling among the little ones.  But at the same time, they are working towards the goal.  They are mentally in touch with the ideal and with the Plan.  They are aware of forces and energies utterly unknown to the majority.  Their only mistake is in the realm of time, for they affirm prematurely that which some day they will be.

When initiation becomes possible, it indicates that two great groups of energies (those of the triple integrated personality [14] and those of the soul or solar angel) are beginning to fuse and blend.  The energy of the soul is beginning to dominate and to control the lower types of force, and—according to the ray of the soul—so will be the body in which that control will begin to make its presence felt.  This will be elaborated later in the section dealing with the rays as they govern the various bodies,—mental, emotional and physical.  It should be remembered that very little egoic control need be evidenced when the first initiation is taken.  That initiation indicates simply that the germ of soul life has vitalised and brought into functioning existence the inner spiritual body, the sheath of the inner spiritual man, which will eventually enable the man at the third initiation to manifest forth as "a full-grown man in Christ", and present at that time the opportunity to the Monad for that full expression of life which can take place when the initiate is identified consciously with the One Life.  Between the first and second initiations, as has been frequently stated, much time can elapse and much change must be wrought during the many stages of discipleship.  Upon this we will later dwell as we study the seven laws of egoic unfoldment.

Individualisation, carried to its full, consummates as the integrated personality, expressing itself as a unity through three aspects.  This expression of personality involves:—

1. The free use of the mind so that focussed attention can be paid to all that concerns the personal self and its aims.  This spells personality success and prosperity.

2. The power to control the emotions and yet have the full use of the sensory apparatus to sense conditions, to feel reactions, and to bring about contact with the emotional aspects of other personalities.

3. The capacity to touch the plane of ideas and to bring [15] them through into consciousness.  Even if these are later subordinated to selfish purpose and interpretation, the man can, however, be in touch with that which can be spiritually cognised.  The free use of the mind presupposes its growing sensitivity to intuitional impression.

4. The demonstration of many talents, powers and the working out of genius, and the emphatic bending of the whole personality to the expression of some one of these powers.  There is often an extreme versatility and an ability to do many outstanding things noticeably well.

5. The physical man is frequently a wonderfully sensitive instrument of the inner, emotional and mental selves, and gifted with great magnetic power; there is often resilient, though never robust, bodily health, and great charm and personal outer gifts.

A study of the outstanding individuals in all fields of world expression today, when entirely divorced from the higher group concepts and the constant spiritual aspiration to serve humanity, will indicate the nature of the consummated individuality and the success of this part of the divine plan.  It should be carefully noted that the successful demonstration of the dominant individual is just as much a divine success in its proper place and time as is the case with the great Sons of God.  One success, however, is the expression of the third aspect of divinity as it veils and hides the soul, and the other is the expression of two aspects of divinity (the second and the third) as they veil and hide the life aspect of the Monad.  When this is grasped, our evaluation of world achievement will undergo change, and we will see life more truly and divorced from the glamour which distorts our vision and the vision of the great Personalities as well.  It should also be borne [16] in mind that individual separative success is in itself an evidence of soul activity, for every individual is a living soul, actuating the lower sheaths of bodies, and proceeding to

1. Build sheath after sheath, life after life, that will be increasingly adequate to its own expression.

2. Produce that sensitivity in the sheaths—sequentially and finally simultaneously—which will enable them to respond to an ever increasing sphere or measure of divine influence.

3. Integrate the three sheaths into a unity which for three and sometimes seven lives (occasionally eleven lives) will function as a dominant personality in some field of wide expression, using the energy of ambition to bring this about.

4. Re-orient the lower individual self so that the realm of its desires and the satisfaction of personality achievement will eventually be relegated to their rightful place.

5. Galvanise the self-assertive man into that realisation of new achievements which will direct his steps on to the Path of Discipleship and eventually on to the Path of Initiation.

6. Substitute for past, necessarily self-interested and personal ambition, the needs of the group and the goal of world service.

Is not the above sufficiently practical?

Initiation carried to its consummation, as far as humanity is concerned, produces the liberated Master of the Wisdom, free from the limitations of the individual, garnering the fruits of the individualisation process and functioning increasingly as the solar angel, because focussed primarily in the inner spiritual body.  Awareness of the Presence is thus steadily developed.  This fact merits the deep study and meditation [17] of all disciples.  As the three rays which govern the lower triplicity blend and synthesise and produce the vital personality, and as they in their turn dominate the ray of the dense physical body, the lower man enters into a prolonged condition of conflict.  Gradually and increasingly, the soul ray, "the ray of persistent and magnetic grasp", as it is occultly called, begins to become more active; in the brain of the man who is a developed personality, an increased awareness of vibration is set up.  There are many degrees and stages in this experience, and they cover many lives.  The personality ray and the egoic ray at first seem to clash, and then later a steady warfare is set up with the disciple as the onlooker—and dramatic participator.  Arjuna emerges into the arena of the battlefield.  Midway between the two forces he stands, a conscious tiny point of sentient awareness and of light.  Around him and in him and through him the energies of the two rays pour and conflict.  Gradually, as the battle continues to rage, he becomes a more active factor, and drops the attitude of the detached and uninterested onlooker.  When he is definitely aware of the issues involved, and definitely throws the weight of his influence, desires, and mind on to the side of the soul, he can take the first initiation.  When the ray of the soul focusses itself fully through him, and all his centres are controlled by that focussed soul ray, then he becomes the transfigured Initiate, and takes the third initiation.  The ray of the personality is occultly "extinguished" or absorbed by the ray of the soul, and all the potencies and attributes of the lower rays become subsidiary to and colored by the soul ray.  The disciple becomes a "man of God",—a person whose powers are controlled by the dominant vibration of the soul ray and whose inner, sensitive mechanism is vibrating to the measure of that soul ray which—in its turn—is being itself [18] reoriented to, and controlled by, the monadic ray.  The process then repeats itself:—

1. The many rays which constitute the lower separative man are fused and blended into the three personality rays.

2. These are, in their turn, fused and blended into a synthetic expression of the dominant self-assertive man, the personal self.

3. The personality rays then become one ray and in their turn become subservient to the dual ray of the soul.  Again, therefore, three rays are blended and fused.

4. The soul rays dominate the personality and the three become again the one, as the dual ray of the soul and the blended ray of the personality vibrate to the measure of the highest of the soul rays—the ray of the soul's group, which is ever regarded as the true egoic ray.

5. Then, in time, the soul ray begins (at the third initiation) to blend with the ray of the Monad, the life ray.  The higher initiate is therefore a dual and not a triple expression.

6. In time, however, this realised duality gives place to the mysterious, indescribable process called identification which is the final stage of soul unfoldment.  It is useless to say more for what might be said could only be comprehended by those preparing for the fourth initiation, and this treatise is written for disciples and initiates of the first degree.

In these successive stages we can glimpse the vision of what we are and may be.  Steadily the unfolding purpose of our own souls (those "angels of persistent and undying love") should gain fuller and deeper control over each of us, and this, at any personal cost and sacrifice, should be our steadfast aim.  For this, in truth and sincerity, we should strive.

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We have thus touched upon the three great divisions which mark the soul's progress towards its goal.  Through the process of Individualisation, the soul arrives at a true self-consciousness and awareness in the three worlds of its experience.  The actor in the drama of life masters his part.  Through the process of Initiation, the soul becomes aware of the essential nature of divinity.  Participation in full consciousness with the group and the absorption of the personal and individual into the Whole, characterise this stage on the path of evolution.  Finally comes that mysterious process wherein the soul becomes so absorbed into that supreme Reality and Synthesis through Identification that even the consciousness of the group fades out (except when deliberately recovered in the work of service).  Naught is then known save Deity,—no separation of any part, no lesser syntheses, and no divisions or differentiations.  During these processes it might be stated that three streams of energy play upon the consciousness of the awakening man:—

a. The energy of matter itself, as it affects the consciousness of the inner spiritual man, who is using the form as a medium of expression.

b. The energy of the soul itself, or of the solar angel, as that energy pours forth upon the vehicles and produces reciprocal energy in the solar form.

c. The energy of life itself, a meaningless phrase, and one that only initiates of the third initiation can grasp, for even the discoveries of modern science give no real idea as to the true nature of life.

Life or essential energy is more than the activity of the atom, or of that living principle which produces self-perpetuation, reproduction, motion, growth, and that peculiar something which we call "livingness".  It may be possible to "create" or [20] produce the lowest or third aspect of life in the scientific laboratories so-called, but to reproduce or create the other and more essential aspects which work out as the conscious response, the intelligent embryonic purpose which seems to animate all substances, that is not possible.  When the third initiation is reached, man will understand why this impossibility exists.  More cannot be said, for until that initiation is experienced it would not be understood.

To bring more light upon this question of the triple expansion of consciousness (for all these crises are aspects of one great unfolding purpose or process) which we call individualisation, initiation, and identification, it should be borne in mind that these words connote something to us today—from the angle of our present point in evolution, from our inherited teaching and thought habits, and from the standpoint of modern knowledge and terminologies.  Later they may appear in a totally different light when we know more and the race has advanced further into the light.  But from the light which streams forth from that larger synthesis, and from the angle of vision of Those Whose consciousness is higher and greater and more inclusive than the human, the significance of these words may appear totally different.  Definition is simply the expression of the immediate understanding of a human mind.  But a definition may later be seen to be imperfect and even false, from the angle of a wider knowledge and a more inclusive grasp of wholes, (just as is the case with a so-called fact).  Hence all definition, and eventually all facts, will be known to be temporary; all exegesis is but passing in its usefulness.  The basic truths of today may be seen later as simply aspects of still greater truths, and when the greater truth is grasped, the significance and the interpretation of its formerly important part is seen to be widely different to what has supposed.  This must never be forgotten by any who may [21] read this Treatise on the Seven Rays.  An initiate, reading the three words we have been considering, has a very different idea about them than has a disciple or a person who has never thought or studied along these lines, and to whom our vocabulary is novel and strange, conveying little meaning, and that usually quite incorrect.

In individualisation, the life of God which has been subjected to the processes of growth, stimulation and development in the three lower kingdoms, becomes focussed in the fourth kingdom in nature, the human, through the agency of a "cycle of crisis", and becomes subjected to the influence of soul energy in one of the seven ray aspects.  The quality of the form aspect, as embodied in the personality and expressed by the phrase, "the ray of the personality", becomes subject to the quality of the egoic ray.  Those two great influences play upon and affect each other, interacting all the time, producing modifications and changes until, slowly and gradually, the ray of the personality becomes less dominant, and the ray of the soul steadily assumes prominence.  Eventually it will be the soul ray that will be expressed, and not the form ray.  This personality or form ray then becomes simply the medium of expression through which the quality of the soul can make its presence felt in full power.  Something of this idea is conveyed in the ancient occult phrase "the lesser fire must be put out by the greater light".  A symbol of this can be seen in the power of the sun apparently to put out a little fire when it can pour its heat right into it.

It was earlier pointed out that we can profitably use the words,—Life, Quality, Appearance—in lieu of Spirit, Soul and Body, for they express the same truth.  The quality of matter, built up into human form and indwelt by the soul or solar angel, is that which normally colours the appearance.  Later, this inherent quality of the appearance changes, [22] and it is the quality nature of Deity (as expressed in the soul) which obliterates the quality of the forms.  During the stage wherein it is the quality of matter which is the paramount influence, that material radiance makes itself felt in a triple form.  These—from the angle of the entire sweep of the evolutionary process, and as far as the human personality is concerned—appear sequentially, and qualify the matter aspect with its three major presentations:

1. The quality of physical substance.  During this stage of development, the man is almost entirely physical in his reactions and completely under the ray of his physical body.  This is the correspondence in man to the Lemurian epoch and to the period of pure infancy.

2. The quality of the astral body.  This governs the individual for a very long period, and still governs, more or less, the masses of men.  It corresponds to the Atlantean period and to the stage of adolescence.  The ray of the astral body is of very great power.

3. The quality of the mental body.  This, as far as the race is concerned, is just beginning to wax in power in this Aryan race to which this era belongs.  It corresponds to the stage of maturity in the individual.  The ray of the mind has a very close relation to the solar angel, and there is a peculiar affiliation between the Angel of the Presence and the mental man.  It is this deep-seated, though oft unrecognised, interplay and cultivated intercourse, which produces the at-one-ment between the soul and its mechanism, man in the three worlds.

From the angle of these three ray influences, we have (in the life of the aspirant) a recapitulation of the triple process which we could call the "processes of unfoldment of the Lemurian, Atlantean, and Aryan consciousness."  On the Path [23] of Probation, the ray of the physical body must become subordinated to the potencies emanating from those soul rays which stream forth from the outer tier of petals in the egoic lotus.  (See A Treatise on Cosmic Fire.) These are the knowledge petals.  On the Path of Discipleship, the astral body is brought into subjection by the ray of the soul as it pours through the second tier of petals, the love petals.  Upon the Path of Initiation, until the third initiation, the ray of the mental body is subdued by the force of the petals of sacrifice, found in the third tier of petals.  Thus the three aspects of the personality are brought into subjection by the energy emanating from the nine petals of the egoic lotus.  After the third initiation, the whole personality, composed of the three aspects, becomes sensitive to the energy of pure electric fire or life, as it pours through the "closed bud at the heart of the egoic lotus."

The value of the above information consists in the fact that it gives, symbolically, a synthetic picture of man's unfoldment and higher relations.  Its danger consists in the capacity of the human intellect to separate and divide, so that the process is regarded as proceeding in successive stages, whereas in reality there is often a paralleling activity going on, and much overlapping, fusing and interrelating of aspects, of rays and of processes, within the time cycle.

Such is the program for humanity, as it concerns the unfoldment of the human consciousness.  The whole emphasis of the entire evolutionary process is, in the last analysis, placed upon the development of conscious, intelligent awareness in the life animating the various forms.  The exact state of awareness is contingent upon the age of the soul.  Yet the soul has no age from the standpoint of time, as humanity understands it.  It is timeless and eternal.  Before the soul there passes the kaleidoscope of the senses, and the recurring [24] drama of outer phenomenal existence; but throughout all these occurrences in time and space, the soul ever preserves the attitude of the Onlooker and of the perceiving Observer.  It beholds and interprets.  In the early stages, when the "Lemurian consciousness" characterises the phenomenal man, that fragmentary aspect of the soul which indwells and informs the human form, and which gives to the man any real human consciousness which may be present, is inert, inchoate and unorganised; it is devoid of mind as we understand it, and is distinguished only by a complete identification with the physical form and its activities.  This is the period of slow tamasic reactions to suffering, joy, pain, to the urge and satisfaction of desire, and to a heavy subconscious urge to betterment.  Life after life passes, and slowly the capacity for conscious identification increases, with a growing desire for a larger range of satisfactions; the indwelling and animating soul becomes ever more deeply hidden, the prisoner of the form nature.  The entire forces of the life are concentrated in the physical body, and the desires then expressed are physical desires; at the same time there is a growing tendency towards more subtle desires, such as the astral body evokes.  Gradually, the identification of the soul with the form shifts from the physical to the astral form.  There is nothing present at this time which could be called a personality.  There is simply a living, active physical body, with its wants and desires, its needs and its appetites, accompanied by a very slow yet steadily increasing shift of the consciousness out of the physical into the astral vehicle.

When this shift, in course of time, has been successfully achieved, then the consciousness is no longer entirely identified with the physical vehicle, but it becomes centred in the astral-emotional body.  Then the focus of the soul's attention, working through the slowly evolving man, is in the [25] world of desire, and the soul becomes identified with another response apparatus, the desire or astral body His consciousness then becomes the "Atlantean consciousness."  His desires are no longer so vague and inchoate; they have hitherto been concerned with the basic urges or appetites,—first, his urge to self-preservation; then to self-perpetuation through the urge to reproduce; and next, to economic satisfaction.  At this stage we have the state of awareness of the infant and the raw savage.  Gradually, however, we find a steadily growing inner realisation of desire itself, and less emphasis upon the physical satisfactions.  The consciousness slowly begins to respond to the impact of the mind and to the power to discriminate and choose between various desires; the capacity to employ time somewhat intelligently, begins to make its presence felt.  The more subtle pleasures begin to make their appeal; man's desires become less crude and physical; the emerging desire for beauty begins to appear, and a dim sense of aesthetic values.  His consciousness is becoming more astral-mental, or kama-manasic, and the whole trend of his daily attitudes, or his modes of living, and of his character begins to broaden, to unfold, and to improve.  Though he is still ridden by unreasoning desire most of the time, yet the field of his satisfactions and of his sense-urges are less definitely animal and more definitely emotional.  Moods and feelings come to be recognised, and a dim desire for peace and the urge to find that nebulous thing called "happiness" begin to play their part.  This corresponds to the period of adolescence and to the state of consciousness called Atlantean.  It is the condition of the masses at this present time.  The bulk of human beings are still Atlantean, still purely emotional in their reactions and in their approach to life.  They are still governed predominantly by selfish desires and by the calls of the instinctual life.  Our earth humanity is still [26] in the Atlantean stage, whereas the intelligentsia of the world, and the disciples and aspirants, are passing rapidly out of this stage, for they reached individualisation on the moon chain, and were the Atlanteans of past history.

Workers in the world today should have these facts and sequences most carefully in mind, if they are rightly to appreciate the world problem, and correctly guide and teach the people.  They should realise that, speaking generally, there is little true mentality with which to work when dealing with the submerged masses; that they need to be oriented towards the truly desirable, more than towards the truly reasonable, and the right direction of the energy of desire, as it expresses itself in the untutored, easily-swayed masses, should be the effort of all who teach.

In the more advanced people of the world today, we have the functioning of the mind-body; this is to be found in a large scale in our Western civilisation.  The energy of the ray of the mental body begins to pour in, and slowly to assert itself.  As this happens, the desire nature is brought under control, and consequently the physical nature can become more definitely the instrument of mental impulses.  The brain consciousness begins to organise and the focus of energies begins to shift gradually out of the lower centres into the higher.  Mankind is developing the "Aryan consciousness" and is reaching maturity.  In the more advanced people of the world, we have also the integration of the personality and the emergence into definite control of the personality ray, with its synthetic, coherent grip of the three bodies and their fusing into one working unit.  Later, the personality becomes the instrument of the indwelling soul.

The above is a simple and direct statement of a long and difficult evolutionary unfoldment.  Its very simplicity will indicate that we have only dealt with the broad outlines, and [27] have ignored the infinite detail of process.  The work starts at Individualisation, and continues through the two final stages of Initiation and Identification.  These three stages mark the progress of the soul consciousness from that of identification with the form to that of identification with the Self.  These three words—individualization, initiation and identification,—cover the whole process of man's career from the time he emerges into the human kingdom till he passes out of it at the third initiation, and functions freely in the fifth kingdom, the kingdom of God.  By that time, he has learnt that consciousness is free and unlimited, and can function in form or out of form according to the behest of the soul, or as the Plan can best be served.  The soul is then in no way conditioned by form.  Just as man can express himself in what is called three-dimensional living, so, by the time he takes the third initiation, he can function actively and consciously in four dimensions, and in the final stages of the Path of Initiation he becomes active fifth-dimensionally.

As we consider these various degrees of expanding awareness, the significant fact to be borne in mind is that through it all there is one steady, sequential unfoldment taking place.  The life of the soul, in this great life cycle which we call human incarnation, passes on the phenomenal plane through all the stages with the same direction, power, steadiness in growth and in the adaptability of form to circumstance and environment, as does the life of God as it flows through the various Kingdoms in nature from age to age.  The thread of the unfolding consciousness can be traced with clarity in all.  Forms are built, used and discarded.  Cycles of lives bring the forms into certain phases of unfoldment needed by the progressively inclusive consciousness.  Other and later cycles demonstrate the definite and specific effects of this developed consciousness, for some lives are predominantly fruitful in [28] producing causes (which is a paradoxical sentence with deep meaning) and others in working off the effects of the earlier initiated causes.  This is a point not often emphasised.  Still later cycles of lives bring these two aspects—consciousness and form—into a greater rapport, and thus produce an entirely different type of life.  The correspondence to these cycles can be seen working out in the life and consciousness of the planetary Logos, as that great Life seeks expression through the medium of the four kingdoms in nature.

However, (and this is the fact of supreme importance), all this activity, all this directed unfoldment, all this evolving purpose and livingness, all the events in all the kingdoms of nature, and all the phases of life-conditioning in the human family, plus the kaleidoscope of events, the emergence of characteristics and tendencies, the appearance of forms with their unique colouring, qualities and activities, the syntheses and fusions, the urges, instincts and aspirations, the manifested loves and hates (as expressions of the great law of attraction and repulsion), the producing of civilisations, of the sciences and arts in all their wonder and beauty,—all this is but the expression of the will-to-be of certain Beings or Lives.  Their consciousness so far transcends the human that only the initiate of high degree can enter into Their true Plan.  What we see today is only the expression of Their energies in the processes of form-making and of the evolution of consciousness.  The Plan, as it is sensed by the world disciples, in the attempt to work and cooperate with it, is only the sensing of that portion of it which concerns the human consciousness.  We have not yet been able to catch even a glimmer of the vastness of the synthetic Plan for evolutions other than human, both superhuman and subhuman; nor can we grasp the fabric of God's ideal as it underlies the sum total of the manifested processes, even upon our little planet.  All we [29] really know is the fact of the Plan, and that it is very good; that we are enfolded within it and subject to it.

Herein may be found a clue to the difficult problem of free will.  It might be said that within the limits of the intelligent direction of the intelligent man there is free will, as far as activity in the human kingdom is concerned.  Where no mind activity is present and where there is no power to discriminate, to analyse and to choose, there is no free will.  Within the vaster processes of the Plan, however, as it includes the entire planetary evolution, there is, for the tiny unit, man, no free will.  He is subject, for instance, to what we call "acts of God", and before these he is helpless.  He has no choice and no escape.  Herein lies a hint upon the working of karma in the human kingdom; karma and intelligent responsibility are inextricably woven and interwoven.

As we close our discussion of the three steps of Individualisation, Initiation, and Identification, which mark the progress of the soul from identification with form until it loses itself and its own identity in a higher identification with the Absolute One, let us carry our thoughts forward to that point in time and space wherein the spiritual consciousness releases itself from all the categories of awareness and all differentiations, and from the final sense of selfhood, and merges itself in that sublime condition in which self-centredness (as we understand it) disappears.  We shall later consider the stages wherein the soul—impelled thereto by its peculiar ray qualities—appropriates to itself (for purposes of experience) those forms which can be expressive of, and responsive to, the many types of divine awareness.