Commentary on Rule XIV for Applicants
Listen, touch, see, apply, know.
These words concern what the Christian might aptly call the consecration of the three major senses, and their utilisation in the evolution of the inner spiritual life, application then made of that which is learnt and ascertained, followed by the fruition of realised knowledge.
1. We reach the point of synthesis for the Fourteen Rules for Applicants.
2. The three major senses are, sequentially, those of hearing, touch and sight, correlating respectively with the physical-etheric plane, the astral plane and the mental plane.
3. It is the personality that applies these three honed and sensitized senses in a purposeful manner according to that which the soul knows.
4. Man learns by doing, and through constant and correct application there arises the realization of soul knowledge. Man knows himself to be a soul, a true Knower who possesses an integrated instrument for expression in the three lower worlds (i.e., a personality) . This personality is equipped with a mental body, an astral body and an etheric-physical body and through this threefold lower instrument the personality can make its will (now aligned with the soul will) felt within each of the lower worlds. Later, the will of the personality becomes the will of the soul.
5. There are phases of development in which the senses can be intelligently utilized to further personality ends. Those phases represent an initial achievement. But the fourteenth Rule indicates the utilization of the sense for the evolution of the inner spiritual life. The light revealed by each of the sensitized senses is used to reveal the presence of the soul within the three lower worlds and within the personality form and its vehicles.
6. Each of us could examine how we use our senses. When we listen, touch or see, is it to detect or express the soul? Does soul consciousness increase through the utilization of these senses, or do we become trapped in that which the senses reveal, thereby hiding the presence of the soul?
Considering the Five Words
7. Listen: the sense of hearing is the first to develop and relates most to the etheric-physical plane. This sense correlates with Saturn and the third ray and grows out of the functioning of the throat center.
8. For what does one listen? Each of us can meditate on the possibilities. Here are some.
a. Above all for the still small voice of the soul rather than the many and confused voices of the astral plane and of the lower mind.
b. This still small voice is first heard, perhaps, as the voice of conscience so necessary in the guidance of the aspirant (when the intuition has not yet been developed).
c. One also listens to the voices of those with whom one’s lot is cast and to those one may encounter in the give and take of daily life.
d. In such circumstances, for what does one listen?
i. For the note of the individual vehicles of another
ii. For the composite note of another
iii. For the soul note of another
iv. One listens in a special way to the personality note of another and to the notes of the three vehicles to discover whether these lower notes are blending with the soul note
v. One listens for sounds of distress in any of the vehicles (one’s own or those of another) and for the harmonizing sound which would bring relief to that distress.
vi. One listens also for the sound of the interplay between the various vehicles of another, noting harmonies and inharmonies. These will indicate where help is needed and amelioration can be applied.
vii. One listens for the emerging quality of others and discovers whether there is a note which one can sound or something one can say or do which will contribute to the emergence of that quality. That quality is soul quality.
viii. One also listens for indications of weakening and disintegration, to see how they may be remedied.
ix. One can apply such listening to the environment in general and, thus, to the lower kingdoms.
x. We remember that in The Rules of the Road, one of the first requirements is to have “the open ear”. If we listen carefully enough we shall, at length, develop buddhic understanding or hearing. Then, through careful, sensitive, intuitive listening we shall truly understand other—in themselves and in the larger context in which they participate.
9. Touch: This sense is the foremost sense in our solar system, which is of an astral-buddhic nature. The sense of touch is related to the Law of Attraction and Repulsion and to the factor of magnetism. It is the sense which, in a way, is the basis of all other.
10. What does one touch or seek to touch:
a. One seeks to touch the soul, to ‘get the feel’ of the soul, its energy, its presence. This presence will often be noticed as a quickening, as an animation of the higher centers (head, ajna, throat and heart responding each in its own way).
b. Further one will recognize when the ‘touch’ of the soul occurs impulsed from above. This may happen when one is not invoking or meditatively attempting to feel this touch.
c. One also touches all surroundings and feels the quality of circumstances and subtle atmospheres.
d. One touches other human beings (ranging from those with to whom we are closely related to those with whom we are apparently unrelated). The old adage is true: “Touch one, touch All”.
e. One can certainly touch with the hands especially, and secondarily with the skin (the great physical organ of touch) but more occultly, one learns to touch with the astral body, and even with the mind. Later there is also the touch of the soul, arising when soul touches soul—feeling the quality of another soul. And who is to say that there is not the ‘Touch of the Spirit’?
f. What can be revealed or accomplished by the sense of touch?
i. We touch others and feel their outer quality.
ii. We touch others more subtly with our astral body (or other higher vehicles) and feel their inner quality.
iii. When we touch, we feel the harmony or inharmony of that which we touch. Touch reveals the presence of pain and suggests the manner in which the pain may be relieved.
iv. Through the application of a compensatory quality of touch, we seek to restore harmony to that which is inharmonious. Carried further, this becomes the deliberate application of healing energy. The buddhic siddhi of Healing is an extension of the sense of touch, as is “Active Service”.
v. When we read the following, we can sense how much the sense of touch is initially involved, and then the sense of inner sight.
Rule I. Enter thy brother's heart and see his woe. Then speak. Let the words spoken convey to him the potent force he needs to loose his chains. Yet loose them not thyself. Thine is the work to speak with understanding. The force received by him will aid him in his work. (TWM 320)
vi. The sense of touch, when sufficiently refined, leads to the ability to heal that which is touched.
vii. Further, the quality within and beneath that which is touched is, through the refinement of this sense, revealed.
viii. Through a refinement of the sense of touch, that higher energy to which the astral body may eventually be attuned may also be sensed—namely the quality of buddhi or divine love.
g. The injunction “Touch” also suggests the manner in which we are to touch others. We are to touch in such a way that we carry the energy of the soul which has entered the personality through the infusion process.
h. Upon the Path one is to have the “giving hand”. One may give much through the sense of touch.
11. What does one “see” or seek to see?
a. It is not possible to see the soul, per se, unless within the chamber of initiation, and even this sight is soon forgotten by the usual probationary initiate. If one, however, is an initiate of higher degree, then one may in fact see the soul. It is eminently desirable to “see” the soul as it is—whether as a lotus, as a nine-spoked wheel or as Angel—the Solar Angel.
b. Yet, even at a lower stage of unfoldment of the sense of sight, one can see evidences of the soul in all persons and in all circumstances. The cultivation of this mediated sight leads eventually to true and unveiled sight.
c. The injunction “see” demands a deeper penetrating perception. We are always to see beneath the surface. What are we to seek to see?
i. Facts as they are, undistorted by maya, glamor and illusion. To “see” is to view all life through a sense of realism.
ii. True causes
iii. True underlying patterns
iv. The nature and movement of the true identity within
d. This injunction, “See”, accords with the siddhi known as “Spiritual Discernment”.
e. Of course, if one is psychically sensitive, one can hear, touch and see on subtler planes. Such subtle extensions of the normal senses (clairaudience, psychometry and clairvoyance) must eventually be developed. But for the Applicant to Initiation, this type of perception is not yet the most important. The seeing required is a “subjective seeing”—sight that reveals first the signs of the soul and later the soul itself.
f. What can be revealed or accomplished through the sense of sight?
i. All things can be ‘seen’ in relationship.
ii. The place of any thing within a whole can be understood.
iii. The World of Meaning can be entered, for the sense of sight is very close to the soul. The soul field is the World of Meaning.
iv. Though sight a vast quantity of information enters the consciousness—this is information about associated persons and about the environment and circumstance.
v. Through sight one grasps entire situations simultaneously. The speed of personality progress towards spiritualization is greatly enhanced.
vi. Through the sense of sight we approach the possibility of initiation, which necessitates a growing mental focus. The petals which are opened during the initiation process are petals which relate to the mental plane. Mind and sign are closely allied.
vii. Through the sense of sight the spiritual Path is discerned. The meaning of the past appears as memory is viewed and understood. The way ahead is also “seen”, known more completely. One catches a vision of a Path which must be followed. This vision develops into the Vision.
viii. Desire is intensified and aspiration enfired through the developing sense of vision. Obviously, the development of the sense of sight leads to the cultivation of the Vision which must be the possession of every true disciple and initiate.
ix. Upon the Path one is to have the “open eye which sees the light”. The two eyes see many things in the lower world. Eventually, the single eye (arising as the “Two Merge with One”) is to see the light of the soul and, finally, the soul itself—the source of light.
12. What is the meaning of the term, “apply”?
a. The fifth ray is the Ray of Application.
b. By the time we reach the point at which the term “apply” describes the stage of our development, the mind is highly developed.
c. Personality arises through mental focus on the fourth subplane of the mental plane. By the time one is a thoroughly integrated personality, one is also a soul-infused personality. This can only occur when the mental unit is fully developed and one is one the verge of the third initiation. One could think that these Fourteen Rules for Applicants apply only to the first and, perhaps, the second initiation, but, indeed, if completely fulfilled, they will take the candidate to the third initiation.
d. With application there is a bending of all the capacities of the lower three vehicles to the purpose in sight.
e. Application is only correct (at this stage) if the personality will serves the will of the soul.
f. To “apply”, therefore, is to become an effective agent for the expression of soul light, soul love and soul will.
g. The one who applies is an increasingly soul-infused personality; one who has ‘heard’ the soul (and been ‘heard by’ soul); has ‘touched’ the soul (and been ‘touched by’ the soul); is seeking to ‘see’ the soul (and has certainly be ‘seen by’ the soul, which has been in “meditation deep” since the opening of the fifth petal at the first initiation).
h. What is achieved through application? :
i. One increasingly expresses that which the soul seeks to express through its form.
ii. One turns theory into practice and proves himself to be a spiritually effective human being.
iii. One serves with growing effectiveness.
iv. As an agent of the soul, one moves towards mastery of the lower three worlds. This mastery is finally achieved at Mastership.
i. With respect to all these injunctions, it is the cultivation of the inner spiritual life which is the objective. The personality use of the senses and the use of personality power for its own sake and in service to the behests of the personality are not signified.
13. What is it that one is to “know”?
a. To “know” is both the beginning and the end.
b. It is the end of the process of personality development, for faith is lost in sight and personality consciousness gives way to soul consciousness.
c. However, it is but the beginning of focussed work within the Kingdom of Souls —a work which begins at the first initiation.
d. To “Know” is but the first phase of the sequence: “Know. Express. Reveal. Destroy. Resurrect.” This sequence leads, notice one way, from the first to the fifth initiation, but in another and higher way (and from the solar rather than planetary perspective) , from the third initiation to the seventh (the Initiate of the Resurrection) .
e. At each initiation, the injunction “know” applies, for with the opening of each successive “door” new forms of knowledge are revealed.
f. Upon every phase of the Path knowledge grows. As work is done in the second tier of petals, knowledge of the higher of the pairs of opposites waxes stronger. By the time there is serious work within the fields of the sacrifice petals, the consciousness is touched by the quality of the soul in such a way that soul energy is truly recognized as qualitatively different from the normal energies and forces of the personality.
g. But the term “know” can really only be accomplished upon the higher mental plane. An initiate of the first or second degree can, in this sense, “know” when fully conscious during the ceremony of initiation occurring on the higher mental plane, but this knowing almost always fades away when the initiate returns to his normal waking consciousness.
h. For the initiate of the third degree, however, something different may and should happen. Such an initiate can and must achieved what we might call “waking causal consciousness”. This means that the consciousness experienced in the causal body on the higher mental plane is not reserved only for the moments of passage through the Rites of Initiation, but is transferred to the waking consciousness and there retained..
i. This means that personality consciousness has been spiritually altered and is now almost fully suffused by the presence of the Ego. The consciousness of the Ego is, therefore, focussed both on the normal plane of its service to man (i.e., upon the higher mental plane) and also within the lower planes of awareness.
j. The man who truly “knows” is soul-conscious at all times. He is thoroughly aligned with the Ego to such an extent that he has, as it were, become the Ego within the realm of personality.
k. What is it, then, that is known?
i. The domain in which the causal body exists (at this point the second subplane of the higher mental plane) is experienced at will.
ii. The soul in others is seen. One discerns spiritually at all times and also responds to group vibration. This means one infallibly recognizes others as souls and not only as personalities.
iii. The Divine Plan is increasingly known in a direct rather than mediated manner. Spiritual telepathy is at work and the man with causal consciousness knows the Plan in a matter heretofore impossible.
iv. The one who “knows” also know his egoic group and can recognize the members of his egoic group on the earthly plane.
v. The one who “knows”, in the sense that knowledge is possible at the third degree, also beings to know the Spirit, with which he has been forcibly impressed when the third initiation is taken.
vi. The one who “knows” also knows his soul destiny. He knows his dharma as an Ego, not only as a personality. He is consequently able to bring that dharma through into personality expression much more successfully that heretofore.
vii. When one can respond to the injunction “know”, one knows the Ashram more intimately, because one has stepped within the periphery.
viii. In the earlier stages of knowing the life of the Ashram is slowly revealed but one is still on the border-line, the periphery. Spiritual knowledge is available progressively, to the Little Chela; to the Chela in the Light; to the Accepted Disciple; and also to the Chela on the Thread, but one who truly “knows” in the higher sense, is now a member of the Ashram and stands “within the aura”. He is a “Chela within the Aura”.
ix. Finally, one “knows” the Master with greater spiritual intimacy. One knows the Master’s Will and how the Master is intended to express that Will through the instrumentality of the Ashram.
x. It is clear that to “know” is far more than having the kind of knowledge which comes to the good mind of a selfishly integrated personality. Yes, such a personality may ‘know’ much in the worldly sense. But the knowing here meant is a soul-knowing and pertains strictly to the consciousness of the soul both upon the higher mental plane and within the domain of personality.
May we rapidly and yet cautiously hasten through the stages of development indicated by the words: Listen. Touch. See. Apply. Know.