Esoteric Schools and Disciplines
Our second question relates to the work of the esoteric schools or “disciplines,” as they are sometimes called, and the training and safeguarding of the aspirants found working in them.
I would like first of all to make one point clear. The great hindrance to the work of the majority of the esoteric schools at this time is their sense of separateness and their intolerance of other schools and methods. The leaders of these schools need to absorb the following fact. All schools which recognize the influence of the Trans-Himalayan Lodge and whose workers are linked, consciously or unconsciously, with such Masters of the Wisdom as the Master Morya or the Master K.H., form one school and are part of one “discipline.” There is therefore no essential conflict of interests, and on the inner side – if they are in any way functioning effectively – the various schools and presentations are regarded as a unity. There is no basic difference in teaching, even if the terminology used may vary, and the technique of work is fundamentally identical. If the work of the Great Ones is to go forward as desired in these days of stress and of world need, it is imperative that these various groups should begin to recognize their real unity in goal, guidance and technique, and that their leaders should realize that it is fear of other leaders and the desire that their group should be numerically the most important which prompts the frequent use of the words, “This is a different discipline,” or, “Their work is not the same as ours.” It is this attitude which is hindering the true growth of spiritual life and understanding among the many students gathered into the many outer organizations. At this time, the “great heresy of separateness” I taints them. The leaders and members talk in terms of “our” and “your,” of this “discipline” and that, and of this method being right (usually their own) and the other method which may be right, but it is probably doubtful, if not positively wrong. Each regards their own group as specifically pledged to them and to their mode of instruction, and threaten their members with dire results if they cooperate with the membership of other groups. Instead, they should recognize that all students in analogous schools and working under the same spiritual impulses are members of the one school and are linked together in a basic subjective unity. The time must come when these various (and at present) separative esoteric bodies will have to proclaim their identity, when the leaders and workers and secretaries will meet with each other and learn to know and understand each other. Some day this recognition and understanding will bring them to the point where they will endeavor to supplement each other’s efforts, exchange ideas with each other, and so in truth and in deed constitute one great college of esotericism in the world, with varying classes and grades but all occupied with the work of training aspirants and preparing them for discipleship, or superintending the work of disciples as they prepare themselves to take initiation. Then will cease the present attempts to hinder each other’s work by comparison of methods and of techniques, by criticism and defamation, by warning and the cult of fear, and the insistence on exclusiveness. It is these attitudes and methods which at this time are hindering the entrance of the pure light of truth.
Aspirants in these schools present a different problem from that of ordinary psychism and Mediumship. These men and women have offered themselves for intellectual training and have subjected themselves to a forcing process which is intended to bring the full flower of the soul into premature blossoming, and this in order more rapidly and effectively to serve the race, and to cooperate with the plan of the Hierarchy. Such students thereby lay themselves open to dangers and difficulties which would have been avoided had they chosen to go the slower and equally sure way. This fact should be realized by all workers in such schools and the problem carefully explained to the entering aspirant, so that he may be on his guard and adhere with care to the rules and instructions. He should not be permitted to be afraid or to refuse to subject himself to this forcing process, but he should enter upon it with his eyes wide open and should be taught to avail himself of the safeguards offered and the experience of the older students.
The emphasis in all esoteric schools is necessarily, and rightly, laid upon meditation. Technically speaking, meditation is the process whereby the head center is awakened, brought under control and used. When this is the case, the soul and the personality are coordinated and fused, and at-one-ment takes place, producing in the aspirant a tremendous inflow of spiritual energy, galvanizing his whole being into activity, and bringing to the surface the latent good and also evil. Herein lies much of the problem and much of the danger. Hence also the stress laid in such true schools upon the need of purity and truth. Over-emphasis has been laid upon the need for physical purity, and not sufficient emphasis laid upon the avoidance of all fanaticism and intolerance. These two qualities hinder the student far more than can wrong diet, and they feed the fires of separativeness more than any other one factor.