Brief Commentary on an Overview of These Rules
We have studied Rules IX exhaustively, but never enough, of course. I will share some short thoughts regarding these Rules, not so much in an academic sense (for that has been somewhat accomplished) but more in terms of possible directives to assist us in the carrying out of these Rules.
Rule IX: For Applicants: Let the disciple merge himself within the circle of the other selves. Let but one colour blend them and their unity appear. Only when the group is known and sensed can energy be wisely emanated.
Rule IX: For Disciples and Initiates: Let the group know there are no other selves. Let the group know there is no colour, only light; and then let darkness take the place of light, hiding all difference, blotting out all form. Then—at the place of tension, and at that darkest point—let the group see a point of clear cold fire, and in the fire (right at its very heart) let the One Initiator appear Whose star shone forth when the Door first was passed.
Rule IX for Applicants:
Let the disciple merge himself within the circle of the other selves.
1. We are the other selves with whom we have gathered.
2. We are to live in the presence of those apparently ‘other’ selves, and revise our normal attitude towards ‘them’.
3. The circle is the circle of the Ashram, gathered around the Master as point of inspiration.
4. Imaginative ‘merging exercises’ are useful. Not a day should pass when we allow ourselves to remain in a state of ‘identificatory encapsulation’. Every day the ring-pass-not should be challenged. This is the only way to change our normal perceptions to those which are common to initiates who live as the One Soul.
5. But we have to determine that part of the ‘other’ with which we can merge. It is not the outer form, or, really, anything qualitative. It is the essence of the individual, that within ‘another’ which is identical with the essence we are, or at the very least, the soul. The following from TWM makes this clear:
“Rule III. Blend with thy brother's soul and know him as he is. Only upon the plane of soul can this be done. Elsewhere the blending feeds the fuel of his lower life. Then focus on the plan. Thus will he see the part that he and you and all men play. Thus will he enter into life and know the work accomplished.” (TWM 320)
Let but one colour blend them and their unity appear.
6. We have to know with whom we are to work. We can be on friendly terms with many, and yet they will not necessarily be our close co-workers (those with whom we share the same ashramic orientation, or Ashram, if such is known).
7. Our relations with our fellow group members may be full of complementary variety, but, at root, we will share a recognition that a particular quality or colour is deeply related to our subjective nature.
8. It is hard to put into words, because we are not talking about a tangible color. It is more a sensed quality which all ashramic brothers recognize that they share. It is an often unspoken commonalty, but it blends all apparent differences and makes them subservient to a unity achieved within and by means of the one colour.
9. In this ashramic relationship, there is complete freedom of expression (in alignment with purpose) and yet a palpable sense of unity.
10. There are two kinds of unities. The first is “group unity” and it is buddhic in nature. The next, and greater, is “fundamental unity” which derives from monadic relations. The following quotation is useful in this regard:
“In both the cosmic and solar physical planes, the plane of buddhi is ever the plane of at-one-ment, or the meeting ground of diversities, and of their blending—not into a fundamental unity—but into group unity.” (TCF 328)
Only when the group is known and sensed can energy be wisely emanated.
11. It is possible to inform many and learn from many, but real ashramic work occurs in the intimate presence of only a few—at least for us at our present stage of development.
12. What exactly is our essential colour? What is our fundamental soul note? Do we recognize this?
13. A lot of smoke has to clear throughout the incarnational process before one’s essential quality is clearly ascertained—not just hypothesized but ascertained.
14. Finding one’s group occurs not so much by going out to look for it. Knowledge of one’s group arises when one finds oneself deep in one’s pre-ordained soul service and then notices that there are others similarly engaged. These will be one’s soul brothers. They will discover each other in the field of service.
15. In cooperation with them no energy will be wasted on the need for interpersonal accommodation. Soul purpose is so deeply shared that such brothers can work with intimate understanding (even if through a variety of external methods).
16. Then will come the opportunity to appreciate the rich diversity of ashramic life, and it can be a joyful experience.
17. Self-certainty, however, is initially required. The aspirant or probationary disciple who does not know himself, cannot really expect to blend and merge with an ashramic group.
Rule IX for Disciples and Initiates:
Let the group know there are no other selves.
18. This is the most fundamental of all spiritual recognitions.
19. It is much quoted and people imagine they know what it means, but they do not often act as if they do.
20. It is not the individual who knows there are no other selves, but rather the disciples who are together identified as a group.
21. From the position of “group unity” characteristic of buddhi, the “fundamental unity” characteristic of the Monad can be approached.
22. From the perception characteristic of the soul, we move to the perception characteristic of the Monad.
23. This type of perception is destructive of the illusion of individuality; it is even, eventually, destructive of the illusion of the individuality of groups.
24. Of course individuals and groups, on one level of perception, have their individuality. But such an individuality is not essential. It is transient and gives way to the perception of identicality—the perception that there are no other selves.
Let the group know there is no colour, only light;
25. We are engaged in a retreat from quality into essence.
26. Light is the essence of colour; darkness is the essence of light.
27. We are being asked to remove our attention from preoccupation with quality and distinction, and to become preoccupied, instead, with homogeneity—the ‘sea of sameness’ from which all quality emerges.
28. So, in fact, we are being asked to abstract our consciousness from differentiation and settle it upon that which cannot be differentiated—however much it seems to be so. Reality is essentially indivisible.
29. We are engaged, therefore, in a search for essence.
and then let darkness take the place of light, hiding all difference, blotting out all form.
30. The third stage is the movement into the livingness of spiritual “darkness”.
31. It is an abstraction still greater than that which moved our consciousness from the perception of color to the registration of light.
32. If we learn “pratyahara” (the stage of Abstraction as presented in the Yoga Sutras) we may yet learn to move towards an appreciation of and identification with essence.
33. Perhaps there are not too many of us who focus with consistency on the perception of and identification with essence. Our lives are full in the qualitative realm, into which, at the very least, we have to introduce the factor of harmony.
34. The world of light is once removed from the domain of essence, which is a realm of ‘spiritual darkness’ (in the positive sense!).
35. How can we define this “darkness”? Perhaps we can say that it is simply that which takes the place of light; that which hides all difference; that which blots out all form. It is the non-objectified Presence.
36. To find “darkness” is an act of ‘positive spiritual negation’ (if so contradictory a phrase can be considered meaningful).
37. Through a temporary act of great disinterest in light and all the phenomena it reveals, we may penetrate to that which antecedes (and later follows) them both.
38. An individual or group for whom darkness has taken the place of light is living in Spirit. Spirit has become the all-motivating Attractor. It is the Spirit within such an individual or group which is reaching out to the Spirit within all things. Spirit calls to Spirit, even though Spirit is indissolubly One. Such are the inevitable paradoxes in relation to Spirit.
39. When this stage of evolution has been reached, “darkness” in the sense used here, begins to be meaningful.
Then—at the place of tension, and at that darkest point—let the group see a point of clear cold fire,
40. Deep within the ‘spiritual darkness’ a point of tension emerges.
41. Identification with such darkness is an invocation in itself, and that which is invoked is a “point of clear cold fire”—the Star of Initiation.
42. The “darkest point” is the place of maximum “tension” within the darkness.
43. Again, it is not so much the individual who sees the point of clear cold fire, as it is the group (seeing as one)—as an Ashram learns to see.
and in the fire (right at its very heart) let the One Initiator appear Whose star shone forth when the Door first was passed.
44. In the darkness, a point of clear cold fire emerges.
45. Within the clear cold fire (at the most intense point of the fire—its very heart) the One Initiator emerges.
46. This is the part of the Rule which suggests the fifth initiation, for the One Initiator is not seen face to face until that time—if that is what the Rule is suggesting.
47. Given that these are Rules for group initiation, it cannot be the Christ Who appears, for He is the initiator at the first two initiations in relation to which the Rules of Applicants apply.
48. The “Star of Initiation” is most associated with the third initiation, though a form of the star may also be associated with the first two degrees.
49. If the One Initiator appears as He is, then the initiation here discussed is the fifth degree. If He appears in the form of a star or an eye, then the third and fourth initiations are referenced, respectively.
50. All of these desirable attainments are based upon group love and purposeful, group cohesion.
51. Do we find that we are related to ‘others’ in such a way that our very relationship is an invocation of these higher attainments?
52. Probably, we must put first things first, and make sure that our group relations are pervaded by the energy of Love-Wisdom, before the kind of group attainments here discussed can have any realistic possibility of eventuating.
53. Together, the group will one day penetrate into the certainty of group soul and the still more exalted certainty of the One Life, which all share and all are.
54. We are very much in the stage of rehearsal. Where are the groups (except for definite ashramic groups) which have attained along these lines? They are a rarity, if any exist.
55. We are presented with instructions for advanced occult group work in the Aquarian Age, and so it should not be expected that achievement will be immediately rapid.
56. One of the first steps towards attainment is assuring ourselves that we know at least a little something about the Will. This is done through deep reflection upon the subject and an attempt to reach the highest point of tension which may be possible for us. A very great dissatisfaction for “things as they are” in the outer worlds must also be present.
57. Then, one will be sufficiently motivated to abstract from illusion in a manner which leads to spiritual results.
58. How many are motivated towards this act of abstraction? Each will have to search the soul to determine how intensively he wishes to search for the Spirit.
59. For many of us the achievements here indicated are not yet germane to our spiritual life. While not wishing to rush ourselves, this should change so that we being to press forward earnestly until in the Presence of the Overpowering Essence.
60. It is possible, if our approach to Spirit is intelligent and full of deep commitment.
May the spirit of Synthetic-Understanding pervade our consciousness as we attempt to synthesize these Rules.
Light, Love and Power,