Group Synthesis, Part 11

Group Synthesis, Part 11
The Ideal Spiritual Group

There are, as we know, many spiritual groups out there with widely different goals and of various different qualities. We come to an important question?

What are the ideal qualities that would be most conducive in aiding seekers of light and truth?

(1) The first, and what we may call the foundation ingredient, would be a purpose, most preferably a positive or benevolent one.

Without a specific purpose the group will drift and eventually disintegrate.

Groups with a purpose may be divided into a number of categories.

(A) A group dedicated to studying a specific set of teachings.

There are many groups like this on the internet and some meeting physically. They do not demand anything out of the ordinary from members but meet to encourage study and the sharing of information.

These can be useful for the seeker merely wanting to expand his knowledge in certain areas.

(B) In addition to educating members some add social interaction, gatherings, seminars etc.

Making friends and interacting with like-minded souls is a big draw for many.

(C) Groups having a purpose to create change in the world around us.

(D) Groups with a goal to convert others to their belief system. This includes many churches as well as some alternative spiritual groups. Most people do not mind a gentle take-it-or-leave-it presentation of various groups, but many are turned off by heavy handed proselytizing and the our-way-or-the -highway approach.

(E) Groups with a goal to elevate the consciousness or spiritual quality of its members. These groups will present various goals of possible enlightenment for its members.

A longer list could be stated but overall successful groups will have several such ingredients as part of its purpose. For the wise seeker a most important ingredient is one that stimulates or aids the him or her forward on the path to greater light, truth, and liberation.

Once the seeker finds a group with a purpose in harmony with his ideal what should be the next important quality? High on the list should be:

(2) Freedom of Thought.

The wise spiritual seeker will avoid groups that seek to control its members and insist on rigid conformity or be ostracized.

A good test is for the seeker to participate in discussions and ask several questions that may challenge the perfection of the leader or group teachings.

When this happens, the response in many groups is this: The leaders as well as many members will frown on such a character and immediately start to squeeze him out of the group unless he conforms and quits asking difficult questions.

The ideal group will welcome challenging questions and seek to answer them. It is indeed a good sign when the seeker finds such an atmosphere as it indicates that there is no hidden agenda. There is nothing more stifling to true learning than to be restricted to conformist and limited doctrine.

Keep in mind that we are not encouraging a student to become a distraction and become a contrarian. A student who takes the class off topic or asks all kinds of nit picking questions is another matter. Extremes always create problems.

(3) Putting the Spiritual above the Material

The vast majority of spiritually related groups claim with their words to emphasize the spiritual, but many with their deeds say otherwise. Larger groups may reveal their deviation from the ideal by merely showing us where the money goes. Some leaders have a lavish lifestyle and the group may spend the money on elaborate structures rather than on the people or the spiritual work.

The Oregon cult of Bhagwan Rajneesh was a prime example of what not to do. He had 93 Rolls Royce automobiles and drove around in a different one every week. Not only was his focus strongly on money but also free sex.

It is also obvious to seekers that many of the churches are far too materialistic with some leaders also living lavish lifestyles and focusing on the carnal rather than the spiritual side of life.

Then you have many small alternative spiritual groups. Some are led by true servants who sacrifice materially to assist members; whereas, others are led by a guru trying to get rich as well as have lots of sex partners on the way – not to speak of feeding a big ego.

The ideal here, of course, is for the group and its leadership to be dedicated to spiritual above the material.

(4) The group should offer something of value to the individual, the group, the world, or all three.

The beginning seeker will seek self improvement. The more advanced will seek for the group good, union and interplay. As the pilgrim moves forward he or she will become more far-reaching in vision and seek the greatest good for the greatest number until a benefit for the whole world is embraced.

The individual must assess the level his learning and service is to embrace and find a group which will meet the need.

(5) The group’s teachings and goals must register as positive with the soul of the student.

None of us want to get caught up in teachings that will take us further into illusion. Each student therefore has a personal responsibility to check with his own soul and see how the group and its leaders register. The group will probably not be perfect, but it may be positive enough to take the student on his next step of the journey.

Here is a pertinent quote from DK:

“People may evince real desire to participate in the group life and to form part of the group activity, but their real difficulty will consist in bringing their personal life and vibration into conformity with the group life and rhythm. The narrow path which all disciples have to tread (and in the early stages these groups will consist primarily of those on the Probationary Path or the Path of Discipleship) requires obedience to certain instructions which have been handed down to us from the ancient past. These are followed willingly and with the eyes open, but no rigid adherence to the letter of the law is ever asked or expected. Flexibility within certain self-imposed limits is always needed, yet that flexibility must not be set in motion by any personality inertia or mental questioning.” Esoteric Psychology, Vol 2, Page 187

Dec 19, 2020

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Group Synthesis, Part 10

Group Synthesis, Part 10
Working with Other Groups

Here is the next question to consider:

How should my group work with other groups as far as goals, activities and teachings go?

There are three approaches of the various groups.

(1) Group leadership feels that they want to focus on their group purpose and keep interplay with other groups to a minimum or zero though some data may be exchanged. This is the most common group.

(2) Group leadership seeks to cooperate with other groups as much as possible and looks for opportunities. This would include more than inviting other groups to agree with the group’s teachings, but to seek cooperation in areas of agreement and overlap or even working to coordinate other groups. There are only a handful of groups in this category.

(3) Those with specific or unique group goals for their primary focus, yet look for (or at least open to) areas of overlap with other groups where cooperation is possible.

There are a few in this area and the number is slowly growing.

It is interesting to examine the churches and their evolution as groups. Just a few generations ago there was virtually no cooperation between the various churches. Each felt they had the correct direction and did little or nothing to seek areas of agreement or cooperation. Other sects were seen as the enemy to be defeated.

Today many new agers criticize the churches for being narrow minded, but overlook the progress they have made. Now many are seeking some overlap where they can work together and many different sects see areas of agreement in their church doctrines.

It is true that they are far from the ideal, but there is no doubt that progress toward synthesis has been made.

The present condition of many of the new age and esoteric groups is not much better than the churches. Many of them lack inclusiveness and are very guarded toward their members and teachings and do not seek cooperation in overlapping ideas.

Once in a while though there is an event that unites many of them. One of the largest was the Harmonic Convergence back in 1987. This was inspired by an unusual alignment of the sun, the moon and six planets. It does seem that solar events seem to be one thing that brings differing esoteric groups together for unified meditations geared toward world peace and unity.

Then too, every so often someone will come up with an idea for an event, like a moment of silence at a special time, that catches on.

The teachings in the Alice A. Bailey books on the full moon festivals and meditations have gained wide acceptance and many different new age and esoteric groups unite in meditation on these occasions.

But, overall the alternative spiritual groups have a long way to go to cooperate together effectively enough to influence world affairs in the desired direction of “peace on earth, goodwill toward men” (or humankind).

A question that needs to be asked is

How much should the various groups seek to cooperate and seek areas of agreement with other groups?

The answer is that it will vary accord to group purpose. If, for example, a group maintains that cooperation, synthesis and unity with all world servers is an objective then they naturally assume some responsibility to make this happen as much as possible.

If another has specific goals unique to itself that doesn’t involve outreach to other groups then their responsibility is much lower.

But wouldn’t this type of group be separative and just wrong?

Some may be, but others not so much. Let us illustrate with a non spiritual example.

We have two groups, one dedicated to learning French and the other Spanish. As far as group purpose goes each of these has every little overlap with groups dedicated to any other language or subject. If the French group wants to effectively learn French then focusing on the goals of a Spanish or astronomy group would be unproductive and distract from real learning.

Even so, the goal of some spiritual groups may be the study of select materials with which they want to focus. This is the case with the majority of groups on the internet.

On the other hand, many spiritual groups are different from something like a dedicated Spanish group in that many spiritual teachings, such as the Bailey works, emphasize synthesis sharing and the seeking of joining minds to bring in the new age.

Thus, even though the group may have a dedicated curriculum they should be open to living up to those teachings that are included.

This would mean that the ideal group with a specific purpose would still keep their eyes open for opportunities for cooperation with other groups with overlapping teachings and values.

Many students are somewhat frustrated by the conflict that is in the emotional atmosphere, as of this writing in December 2020, and feel that not only should the various groups be more open to promoting overlapping spiritual values, but groups are too reluctant to reach out and offer friendship and opportunities for synthesis.

This is definitely an area worthy of contemplation for all benevolent groups.

DK make an encouraging comment:

“The Spirit of Peace which is invoked is an inter-planetary Agent of great power Whose cooperation has been promised if all aspirants and disciples can cooperate to break through the shell of separation and hatred which holds our planet in thrall.” Externalization of the Hierarchy, Page 21

Dec 11, 2020

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Group Synthesis, Part 9

Group Synthesis, Part 9
(F) Too much attention on the personality
(Finishing up on group problems)

The Prime Directive of true Aquarian spiritual groups is to direct its members to focus on the soul, or the Christ within themselves and others, rather than the outward imperfections of the personality.

This is a most difficult lesson for the student to learn. The test of correct focus indeed comes to light when other members seem to speak or act out of alignment with what is thought to be personal or group standards or goals.

Yes, there are times that other group members will show their personality imperfections (real or imagined) but the problem caused by such things often winds up being insignificant compared to some member rising up and openly calling out and criticizing others.

If there was a positive and peaceable spirit before the criticism, there generally will not be one afterwards. A harsh criticism can have the immediate effect of shifting the entire group focus toward the negative rather than a positive group goal. A criticism, just or unjust, will often lead to defense followed by attack leading to an endless circle that often does not get resolved.

Then there are times that the criticism is ignored. This often does not work either as negativity then remains and lurks below the surface. It also grows within the critic as he or she feels ignored.

DK has a lot to say about the problem of a critical spirit interfering with group unity.

“Let me put it this way: the petty selfishness and the silly little vanities and the irritations which disturb you, the unkind words you may speak of or to others, and the withholding of love or the fact of wrong emphasis in your daily life are not noted by me or by any Master. They are the affair of your own soul; the results affect your family, friend, or communal group, and are none of Our business. Yet those are the things which you notice in others and which affect your judgment, evoking like or dislike, praise or blame, but inevitably putting you—as an individual—upon the judgment seat. There no Master sits.” Discipleship in the New Age, Vol 2, Pages 334-335

“The difficulties confronting you are, therefore, great and I am anxious that you should realise this. Will you realise, for instance, that any differences of opinion which may occur in the relations of this group of disciples will be caused by astral-brain reactions and, therefore, must not be considered of any importance whatsoever? They must be immediately eliminated and wiped from the slate of the mind and of the memory and classed as entirely personality limitations and unworthy of hindering group integrity. … The astral-physical brain reactions should be regarded as non-existent and as illusion and should be allowed to lapse below the threshold of the group consciousness—there to die for lack of attention.” Discipleship in the New Age, Vol 1, Page 22

Then he gives the reason the personality flaws must be overlooked:

“Only as servers cooperate from the standpoint of an inner subjective linking can a united world be carried forward…. the inner relationships and cooperation Must be established and developed, in spite of the outer divergences of opinion.” Esoteric Psychology, Vol 2, Page 106

In advanced ashrams the members generally have learned to look beyond the personality to the Christ within the various members. Members of such groups are almost impossible to offend, but rarely would any group member try to.

On the other hand, groups forming among exoteric humanity will gather in a variety of souls, many of whom do not comprehend the importance of looking beyond the personality. The first lesson of any newly formed group will be to learn to see the personality as illusion and the soul as the reality wherein focus needs to dwell.

One may object and say something to the effect, “But what if that Jones character is rude, crude and crazy? Shouldn’t I say something? Surely something needs to be done.”

Of course, there are exceptions to everything, but when should the exception be made? After all, if Jones is really doing something outrageous, like promoting child pornography, something indeed should be done. What should be the criteria for just group criticism from a member?

First of all, let us consider what is not appropriate. The first question the offended member must ask himself is whether others in the group also have a similar problem with Jones. If you are the only one who feels like complaining then maybe you are magnifying the problem far beyond what it is. Maybe you are creating a problem (negativity) where none should exist rather than solving anything.

Secondly, if Jones is doing something truly harmful it will not be just one or two people who are disgruntled but a high percentage. It will be brought to the attention of the leader and he will remove someone with egregious flaws (child porn, for example) from the group. If the leader is so materially focused that he does not take care of the problem then the student should move on to another group.

So, let us suppose that you see a problem with some member or members, no one else seems to notice, but it is disturbing to you and you feel something needs to be said/ What should you do?

As mentioned earlier, first examine yourself. If, after doing that, you still feel something needs to be expressed then, instead of disrupting the whole group with a complaint, contact the individual member on a one-to-one basis and seek to resolve the problem. If that doesn’t work, contact the group leader and express your feelings. Maybe he has heard similar complaints from others and will do something about it. Maybe you are the only one and he will give advice to look beyond the personality to the soul. Whatever the case, the wise leader will do all in his power to keep all eyes away from the personality and on the Christ within. All grievances must be neutralized to create maximum spiritual flow for the group.

Dec 11, 2020

To read Part 1 go HERE , Part 2, HERE , Part 3 HEREPart 4 HERE, Part 5 HERE, Part 6 HERE, Part 7 HERE, Part 8 HERE, Part 10 HERE, Part 11 HERE, Part 12 HERE, Part 13 HERE

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Group Synthesis, Part 8

Group Synthesis, Part 8
(E) No Purpose or a Harmful Purpose

There are three types of groups. Those with no discernable or a nebulous purpose, those with a harmful purpose and finally those with a truly beneficial purpose.

It might be argued that all groups have some purpose so let us clarify this differentiation. By purpose we are saying that it has to be more than a social club or one that is giving out nebulous ideals that go nowhere or cannot be understood.

For instance, some give out ideals using a fancy vocabulary that makes them sound to some as if they are really cutting edge in purpose but sometimes that is all there is. Fancy sounding phrases that say very little to those who pay attention and in the end accomplish little or nothing.

A significant number of new age groups have this problem with the language. Instead of presenting a greater light they present the illusion of greater light by introducing new phrases and words in substitute of old ones. Thus they can take a worn out Piscean message and seemingly present it as if it is something new, perhaps as something Aquarian.

Other groups see the true ideal for the new age and issue many ideas in fanciful language but offer no concrete steps to take to accomplish them.

If a seeker wishes to add his energy to a group to help to move us a step or two forward into the new age then he should avoid these nebulous groups which lack a well defined purpose. Why spend years of effort to accomplish nothing when you could make a difference if the group was actually working on concrete steps to be taken?

The second type of group is one that has a harmful purpose. And how do you recognize such a group?

Well, you’re not going to find them by looking for any confession. No one is going to come out and say: “We are the bad guys” or “We are working with the dark side.”

Indeed, they will vehemently promote the opposite of what they are and insist they are in the light with more repetition and insistence than do the true workers in the light. The true workers in the light demonstrate their true stand with their words and works; whereas, the false focus on words of deception that are not backed up by their works.

So, what are examples of groups with a harmful purpose? There are many but here are some examples.

(1) Lack of inclusiveness. Some reject those of the wrong race, political opinion, religious background, status etc.

(2) Messiah complex. They see their leader as a messiah and themselves as mini messiahs when there is nothing about them that stands out from the ordinary.

(3) They are the one and only group and members should shun those who do not recognize this.

(4) The leadership wants you to donate lots of money while they live lavish lives – apparently from the donations.

(5) Harmful teachings. There are many possibilities here. Those to be particularly shunned are those designed to produce guilt, a very destructive force that allows people to be controlled by outer authority. Many false end of the world teachings have disrupted lives. False promises of some easy and final salvation by accepting the group message is a popular one.

Each seeker must examined any potential group and discern any possible harmfulness incorporated and avoid them and move on.

All true seekers will seek out the third category of groups that have a beneficial purpose. These groups fall into three general categories.

(A) Teaching or study groups. In this case the group selects study materials and explores them as a group. The group overall is tied to no specific belief system but just presents the opportunity to learn from a specific author or set of teachings.

There are many groups like this on Facebook, and other places, and most are helpful. As long as they are inclusive and make no attempt to control (outside of a reasonable moderation) we can place them in a positive category.

(B) Meditation groups. Most of these groups have a positive purpose as most are not attempting to indoctrinate or control members but merely facilitate access to the inner self and some to spread light and love to the world.

There are potential problems with some. DK has given out several warnings. He particularly warns of wrong motive in meditation:

“Meditation is dangerous where there is wrong motive, such as desire for personal growth and for spiritual powers, for it produces, under these conditions only a strengthening of the shadows in the vale of illusion and brings to full growth the serpent of pride, lurking in the valley of selfish desire. Meditation is dangerous when the desire to serve is lacking. Service is another word for the utilisation of soul force for the good of the group. Where this impulse is lacking, energy may pour into the bodies, but—lacking use and finding no outlet—will tend to over-stimulate the centres, and produce conditions disastrous to the neophyte. Assimilation and elimination are laws of the soul life as well as of the physical life, and when this simple law is disregarded serious consequences will follow as inevitably as in the physical body.” A Treatise on White Magic, Page 205

In addition to this he warns that wrong use of breath in meditation can be dangerous to the student as well as premature stimulation of some centers or the premature raising of the Kundalini.

The student must therefore exercise wisdom even in being involved with seemingly harmless meditation groups.

The third type of positive group are those that go beyond examining teachings and meditations to embracing some purpose that will produce positive change in the world. Here the student must learn to weed out the harmful groups mentioned earlier and select one with pure intent and wisdom to accomplish something worthwhile.

This category of group is not for everyone for many just want to learn a few things and more on with their life. On the other hand advanced seekers want to serve and contribute to world progress and are looking for like-minded souls with which to join hands.

The best way for the disciple to make such a choice is by inner confirmation through the soul. Does your inner core vibrate positively when you examine the purpose of a particular group? If so, that is a good sign.

Dec 10, 2020

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Group Synthesis, Part 7

Dec 9, 2020
Group Synthesis, Part 7
(D) Erroneous Teachings

No group is perfect, neither is any teacher or member of the group, but many aspiring students see things in terms of black and white. Either the group is completely rejected or completely accepted by some. The same goes for its leadership.

Therefore, once a black and white student joins a group and feels good about it he often sees himself as in 100%. If contradictions are run by him or her they will be oblivious to them, almost like they either did not exist, or espousing a feeling that it would be wrong to question anything.

Many of these black and white types are so embedded in their group, its teacher and ideology that attempting to change their minds is a waste of time. Such individuals will continue with the all or nothing approach for lifetimes to come, or until they reach some type of painful crises that causes them to seriously reflect on their approach.

The seasoned seeker though is not black and white. He realizes there is no such thing as the perfect group and people and merely seeks out the one that is the best for individual and group progression.

There are a number of flaws that the astute student may see in his chosen group.

(1) Teachings that he believes to be either not true or questionable.

Perhaps he likes most of the material presented. In other words, there are enough positive teachings and activities that the few which are questionable are not enough to cause him to withdraw support. The group does not seem perfect but it is the best he can find.

How then should he handle those teachings which do not register with his inner self.

First the student must make sure he understands the material correctly. As a teacher myself I have often found that this is where the problem lies. The seeker has misunderstood what I was saying and a little clarification and further explanation solved the problem.

Therefore, if the seeker senses that further details may help him to be more unified with the group then he should ask questions and study any additional materials available.

Then after doing all that is possible to understand the teachings, but some still do not correctly register, what should he do?

At that point he must weight the positives and negatives. If the group overall registers as 90% or more positive he may want to stay and support it despite the problematic 10%. After all, there may be nothing he can support 100% and everything else out there seems inferior.

If he decides to stay then it would be disruptive for group unity to focus, especially in any group conversations, with the negative 10%. He would be better off to focus on the 90% he can support.

Does this mean he goes into denial on the 10%. No. He should continue to keep his eye out for further resolution in a positive way, but resist the temptation to inject complaining and arguing in general group conversations.

If he comes up with new information that would shed light on the questionable 10% then it may be beneficial to bring it up to the leadership with a non critical attitude.

(2) Various teachings that are accepted by the group yet seem to contradict each other.

This appears often in many belief systems and group teachings.

Maybe the leader is teaching that the world will end in five years yet they are making plans for decades ahead.

Maybe one set of teachings seem to indicate we live only one life and another supports reincarnation.

Perhaps one part of the teachings say that in the true reality there is only one life and others seem to teach there will always be many lives, but just eventually unified.

In the ideal group the student should be able to ask any question that he desires as long as the tone is civil. However, most groups are far from the ideal and in many groups such questions may bring frowns from leaders and black and white members.

The student must therefore survey the situation.

If he senses that the leadership and the group are open to such questions then he should ask away.

If he senses the questions would create a disturbance then he needs to make a judgment call. Perhaps he may want to bring it up first with an individual group leader.

Perhaps he is willing to ask his questions and let the chips fall where they may.

Perhaps the suppression of questions will be strong enough to cause the student to reevaluate his membership and depart to greener pastures.

Overall, in the eyes of many serious students, a group should be open enough to allow awkward questions to be asked.

(3) The leader seeks too much control over the lives of members.

This is a common problem that is not always obvious at the group’s beginning. Maybe at first the leader seemed easy going but as time progressed he or she became more demanding.

If freedom is threatened then the member should speak out, even if frowned upon by others. If the problem is not resolved the member should consider moving on for a lack of freedom is not a problem that self corrects.

(4) Other members are creating problems.

If this is seen as a problem the first thing the student must ask is how widespread this view is. Are you, or maybe a very small percentage seeing this is a problem or do most members see it this way? If only you see something to complain about then perhaps the problem is in the jaundice way you are looking more than the members that irritate you. In this case you may not have enough traction to bring up the problem to the group as a whole but it may be helpful to discuss your feelings with the leadership.

If a large percentage of the members agree with you then you have evidence of having a valid point. In this case, it may be helpful to bring up this or any other agreed upon problem with the group as a whole.

Criticism within a group can be a very destructive force that can spread like a virus. Therefore, the wise group member will only criticize when it is absolutely necessary, as most criticism is met with a counter criticism that can lead to endless rounds of negativity.

Here was DK’s advice to a critical student:

For several years and more, you have consistently taken the position that one of my disciples has failed to measure up to his opportunities and that my entire group of disciples has not given the service which was demanded of it. You have so stated to a number of people and have also asserted that my work—as indicated by me in my various pamphlets and books—has not been properly done either by the group or by those who have pledged themselves to do it. You have criticised openly all that has been attempted and have steadily belittled and openly under-rated the work that has been done. You have misunderstood the attitude of my entire group. You have not helped in any way constructively. You have interjected a spirit of criticism everywhere.

Why is this? There are two reasons, my brother, and I care enough about your unfoldment to tell you with frankness what they are. One is that your fluid, uncontrolled, lower mind reverts with facility to criticism, to the formulating of group plans which are impossible of accomplishment, changing such plans at frequent intervals and using speech as a means of spreading distrust and criticism. Secondly, you are mentally and spiritually ambitious and yet you do not have the personal magnetism or the executive ability which would enable you to form your own group. It is easier to undermine another group.

Can you train yourself to overcome a critical spirit? I would remind you that habit is potent and that you are facing your life task and your major problem. You are adequate to the task, but only if you become truly convinced of the need.

Can you begin to concern yourself with constructive work which will meet the present need around you? You have talked much. Can you now begin to work? Discipleship in the New Age, Vol 1, Pages 588-590

To read part 1 go HERE , Part 2, HERE , Part 3 HEREPart 4 HERE, Part 5 HERE, Part 6 HERE, Part 8 HERE, Part 9 HERE, Part 10 HERE, Part 11 HERE, Part 12 HERE, Part 13 HERE

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Group Synthesis, Part 6

Group Synthesis, Part 6

(C) The feeling of specialness.

We are skipping (B) Unearned Authority in this treatise for I have already written extensively on this subject. Rather than repeat myself, I will direct the reader to my book “Seeker’s Guide to Soul Contact.” Unearned authority is covered in sections 103-132 and can be accessed free at this link:

Many students who are concerned with dangers related to the ego feel too many groups create a feeling a specialness for their members.

While it is true that anything that inflates the ego should be neutralized some groups do have a unique purpose and mission that is sometimes misinterpreted as specialness that enhances the ego.

Instead of calling these groups special I would suggest that “unique” is a more appropriate word.

First, let us examine specialness in the negative context as it relates to groups. What are the ingredients that would cause the power of the ego of the members to be amplified?

The first and prime ingredient is the tone set by the leader or leaders. Egos are definitely stroked if the leader is a messiah figure – that is one who presents himself as a very special person. Such a leader may claim he is the reincarnation of Buddha, Jesus Krishna or other historical figures. He may claim that the manifestation of the new age   or some type of salvation rests entirely on following his instructions.

If a leader presents such an aura of specialness the followers will not be far behind. They will feel special because they have a great leader and other groups do not. They are going to save the world and other groups will not. Or perhaps they think that they have the one true teaching and other groups lag far behind.

In most cases this feeling of specialness is caused by illusion. Such groups often have an average leader at best, are not doing anything to save the world and have doctrines that are below average in the percentage of truth.

Among common illusions found in many special groups are specific prophecies giving dates for the end times, some type of calamity or significant event. The group feels special because they are in on the inside information and others are not.

Time and time again these predictions fail. Unfortunately, a new false prediction takes its place and most members hang on still feeling special to be in on the new date.

The second main cause of specialness lies at the feet of the individual group members. In this case the leadership and teachings may be sound but one or more members may feel they are special for a number of reasons. Among them are:

(1) They have a “chosen” feeling because of the quality of the group.

(2) They think of themselves as more evolved than others and deserve some recognition.

(3) They think they know more than the leader or teacher and should take their place.

To these DK gives some good a dvice:

If you can indeed feel, think and function as one complete unit – several personalities and one soul – it will then be relatively easy to extend the concept to a broader inclusiveness, to broaden your horizon and thus become inclusive in a much wider sense.

The using of the mind to this end involves an aptitude to learn the distinction between analysis and criticism. This is a hard and well-nigh impossible thing for many to learn. Traces of illumination of this subject will show themselves if the group persists in all earnestness. The members have to learn to respond, as a group, to the same spiritual, mental and human ideas, and thus swing – as a “telepathic unit” – into one united train of thought. They have, as a group, to be preoccupied with the same things which are indicated by the soul of the group, and not by one person in the group, as is apt to be the case. They have to learn, as a group, to hold the mind steady in the light – the group mind, and not their individual minds. Esoteric Healing, Pages 354-355

Then a problem for constructive groups sometimes occurs when members try too hard to see all individuals and groups as having a sameness about them. They see a sameness in all groups, “one is no better than another,” they say. “We shouldn’t see ourselves as special.”

What has to be taken into consideration is this. Each individual and group is different from all others and some groups have a unique purpose. Again we use the word unique here for the word “special” tends to appeal to the ego.

Some groups have a unique and distinct purpose different from all others, and others not so much.

For instance, there are many groups dedicated to meditation who have a similar approach. They perform a good service but are not special or unique. That is fine. They do not need to be.

On the other hand. There are numerous groups that do have a unique purpose different from any other exoteric group. Here are some possibilities.

(1) A group is interested in studying and understanding the teachings of a certain author, around who there is no group formed

They form one and thus have a unique situation.

(2) A group sets a goal to promote a certain part of the Hierarchical plan that no one else is attempting.

(3) A group has established unique ceremonies not used by anyone else.

(4) A group is inspired by the Hierarchy to perform a unique labor.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Hierarchy rarely duplicates its efforts as they follow the Law of Economy. They try to not have one group they work with overlap and duplicate the efforts of another.

For instance, DK established a unique group that some would call special. At the time it was the only exoteric group like it that was endorsed by the Hierarchy.

DK however went out of his way to not stroke the egos of the members and make them feel special, but did comment that the group was a one of a kind experiment.

The biggest complaint did not center around specialness but if some did not agree with the instructions the members sometimes accused Alice A. Bailey of making up the instructions instead of getting them from a Master.

Here D K gave his group some good advice:

seek not to link groups with your group, but recognise your group and all other similar groups as parts of a worldwide spiritual movement which (when it reaches momentum) results in unity for all. A super-organisation which emphasises unity is the last thing to be desired; a multiplicity of living organisms held loosely together by cooperation, constant communication and possessing identity of goal and of purpose is what the world needs today…. Discipleship in the New Age, Vol 2, Page 458

He doesn’t want to see groups merge together into a super group but many different and unique parts are needed to create a vital whole. Just as in the one body the liver has a much different role than the heart but both contribute to the one life in the body, even so, can we have many groups with unique functions yet recognizing their oneness in the living body here on planet earth.

To read part 1 go HERE , Part 2, HERE , Part 3 HEREPart 4 HERE, Part 5 HERE Part 7 HERE, Part 8 HERE, Part 9 HERE, Part 10 HERE, Part 11 HERE, Part 12 HERE, Part 13 HERE

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Group Synthesis, Part 5

Dec 4, 2020
Group Synthesis, Part 5

(6) What if I join and group and discover flaws? What should I avoid or seek to correct?

(A) The Cult Leader

A group membership can offer great benefits if it is basically on the right track. The individual can find new quality friendships among like-minded people. He or she can share activities and discuss topics with other members that may be considered heresy to family and other associates.

A positive spiritual group will allow the seeker to tune into the group mind and sense spiritual contact hitherto untouched.

A good group can stimulate an increase of light, knowledge and love of humanity.

The problem is that many groups are far from perfect and some maybe doing more harm than good or even lead to destructive activity.

The rare cults that lead to mass suicide , such as Jonestown where they drank the poison Kool-Aid, are prime examples. Some negative groups have gotten such bad press that they cause many to look with undue suspicion on the various alternative spiritual groups that have formed. The seeker needs to realize that we cannot stereotype all spiritual groups because of a couple bad apples. Nevertheless one can’t just jump into group membership with no thought of what he is getting into. The individual must check it out to the best of his ability.

But even after researching a group the seeker may encounter problems after joining. The question then becomes – “What shall I do now?”

The most common problem with alternative spiritual groups is found in the leader or leaders. Generally there will be one individual who is seen as the main leader of the group.

If he is a strong leader with a unified group he may be accused of being a cult leader.

This accusation is sometimes justified and sometimes not.

There are two types of leaders of a unified group.

The first has a unified group because he or she is an effective teacher. He allows members to think for themselves, ask questions, read outside material, question authority and come and go as he or she pleases.

Because they are fairly unified, this type of leader is sometimes falsely accused of being a cult leader and the members seen as blindly following sheep. This may be an unjust accusation if free thinking is allowed and the group is only unified because they all understand the principles that are espoused.

The second type of leader of a unified group is the true authoritarian cult leader. This person has a unified group, not because of effective teaching and free flow of ideas, but because of tight authoritarian control. Those who are independent thinkers and ask the wrong questions are not welcome and drummed out of the group eventually just leaving the cult leader with a group of sheep that he can easily control and get to do his bidding – almost as if they wee under a hypnotic spell. This type of leader is easy to recognize because the true seeker will come to realize that his authority is not to be questioned, and if you do, the leader along with the sheep will turn a cold shoulder to you and in some cases attack and drive you out as an intruder.

What shall the seeker then do if he finds himself in a group controlled by such an authoritarian person?

The answer should be obvious. He or she should gracefully exit the group as soon as possible and seek out a more positive group.

Before leaving though it is a good idea to tune into the other members to see if there is anyone else ready to move on. Breaking away from strong authoritarian leadership happens at a certain stage on the path to liberation and if the seeker senses that another is on the threshold then, with a little encouragement, this person may take a bold step into greater freedom and light.

Generally in such a group most of the followers are locked in as if controlled by a hypnotic spell and immovable. It helps to realize that this is one of the things the eternal pilgrim must go through in his journey to liberation. Usually there is nothing you can do for them but wait until they are so crushed by authoritarian control that they break the chains that bind them and move on.

An excerpt from the third Labor of Hercules – The Gathering of the Golden Apples of the Hesperides – would be appropriate to review here:

Happy and confident, Hercules went on, sure of himself and with new courage for the search. Now to the west he turned himself and, turning thus, he met disaster. He entered without thought upon the third great test and failure met him and for long delayed his steps.

For there he met Busiris, the great arch-deceiver, son of the waters, of close kin to Poseidon. His is the work to bring delusion to the sons of men through words of seeming wisdom. He claims to know the truth and with quickness they believe. He speaks fair words saying:

“I am the teacher. To me is given knowledge of the truth and sacrifice for me. Accept the way of life through me. I know, but no-one else. My truth is right. All other truth is wrong and false. Hark to my words; stay with me and be saved.”

And Hercules obeyed, and daily weakened on the early way (third test) seeking no further for the sacred tree. His strength was sapped. He loved, adored Busiris, and accepted all he said. Weaker from day to day he grew, until there came a day when his loved teacher bound him to an altar and kept him bound throughout a year.

Suddenly one day, when struggling to be free, and slowly seeing Busiris for what he was, words spoken long ago by Nereus came to his mind:

“Truth lies within yourself. There is a higher power and strength and wisdom in yourself. Turn inwards and there evoke the strength which is, the power which is the heritage of all the sons of men who are the sons of God.”

Silent lie lay a prisoner on the altar, bound to its corners four for one whole year. Then, with the strength which is the strength of all the sons of God, he broke his bonds, seized the false teacher (who had seemed so wise) and bound him to the altar in his place. He spoke no word, but left him there to learn. From The Labours of Hercules by Alice A. Bailey

All of us meet our Busiris as we journey to our true spiritual home. Only when the seeker realizes that he has sold himself into slavery will he then fight to free himself.

To read part 1 go HERE , Part 2, HERE , Part 3 HERE, Part 4 HERE, Part 6 HERE, Part 7 HERE, Part 8 HERE, Part 9 HERE, Part 10 HERE, Part 11 HERE, Part 12 HERE, Part 13 HERE

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Group Synthesis, Part 4

Dec 3, 2020
Group Synthesis, Part 4

(5) How are the alternative spiritual groups different from religious or other groups?

Many new age and alternative spiritual groups take pride in the idea that they are not like the religious groups and churches. Some see the orthodox religious ones as rather primitive compared to their more enlightened approach.

True there are some who indeed have a more enlightened approach but the truly enlightened do not take pride in being better than others and refrain as much as possible from negative judgments.

On the other hand, many of those who see themselves as enlightened yet judge harshly are not as different from the churches as they suppose.

Some have a message very similar in vibration to the churches but just preach their doctrine by using a fancy vocabulary.

Here are a few correspondences.

Many of the Christian churches teach members to believe in Jesus and be saved.

Many alternative spiritual groups have a guru that must be accepted to achieve their version of salvation.

The churches all teach some version of salvation

Many New Age groups also teach a salvation of sorts. The main difference is they will call it something else – like deliverance from the wheel of rebirth or some high station in the afterlife or some type of deliverance on the planet.

Many religions teach of an end of the world apocalypse with those of the right beliefs being saved and living in a paradise.

Similarly, many alternative spiritual groups teach of some type of apocalyptic future where there will be great earth changes with those in their group being saved. Others see deliverance from war or destruction by aliens or just a shift into another dimension for the righteous. Like the churches many new agers see those of their belief system being saved.

Many of the churches put pressure on members to donate and spend it in questionable ways. The same happens with some alternative groups though many charge exorbitant fees as well as seek donations.

Many seekers complain that the churches’ teachings are shallow and repetitive.

Correspondingly, even though new agers may have a different bible, or reading materials many wind up focusing on superficial material not much in advance of the churches.

The churches often govern by strong use of authority which is not supposed to be questioned by members.

Many alternative groups do the same thing.

It comes down to this for the true seekers. If one is going to leave the churches for greener pastures he or she must make sure they are actually taking a step forward rather than engaging in a new version of the same thing.

So what should the seeker look for when seeking a group that will truly be a step above most of the churches?

The most important thing is freedom of thought and expression. Even if the group supplies all kinds of interesting teachings, if they frown on you asking questions or looking at other teachings they will have placed a stumbling block in your path just as the churches did. The seeker must always be free to explore and ask questions and in the end be governed, not by some outward authority who takes the place of God, but the inward authority which is indeed linked to God.

When the seeker feels confident that his freedom will not be infringed he must look at the quality of the teachings being offered. He needs to plow through enough of the teachings to see how they register with his soul. Do the teachings or practices make sense and will they offer some type of benefit for the individual and the group?

One of the last things a seeker wants to happen is to get caught up in a group that takes its members more toward illusion than truth or darkness rather than light. If one does get caught up in such a group it is often difficult to get out. When the seeker does see the light perhaps he has friends, family and loved ones that must be left behind to leave. Groups with a cult like control are famous for their grip on members, some even threatening those who dare leave and harassing them if they do.

There is not so much danger of this sort on most internet groups as people come and go all the time, but a group with physical meetings or especially one where members live together must be examined with a particularly discriminating eye.

Whatever group, internet or otherwise, a person joins one does not want to waste time, so the seeker should have some common sense criteria before investing any personal resources.

Steps that may aid the seeker in his choices of groups, teachers and teachings are the Principles of Discovery. These are 24 principles to aid the seeker in the discovery of truth covered in my book “The Seeker’s Guide to Soul Contact.”

They are presently freely accessible online.

Here is the LINK

To read part 1 go HERE , Part 2, HERE , Part 3 HERE, Part 5 HERE, Part 6 HERE, Part 7 HERE, Part 8 HERE, Part 9 HERE, Part 10 HERE, Part 11 HERE, Part 12 HERE, Part 13 HERE

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Group Synthesis, Part 3

Group Synthesis, Part 3

(3) There are many groups out there covering almost every subject. How do I go about choosing one right for me? Aren’t most of them saying the same thing?

Some have the attitude that there isn’t much difference in the quality of the various spiritual groups. “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all” is the mantra of some.

The fact is, just as each individual is different so are groups and just as you would not want to pick a marriage partner at random neither should the seeker just pick the first group that comes along.

DK emphasizes the importance of using discernment in our choices:

The disciple in training for these higher realisations is urged to practice the faculty of discrimination. You have been so urged. The initial and normal interpretation and the immediate effect of the practice is to teach the disciple to distinguish between the pairs of opposites. Yet just as the disciple in his early training discovers that the discriminating process has naught to do with the choice between recognised evil (so-called) and recognised good, but concerns the more subtle pairs of opposites such as right and wrong silences, right and wrong speech, right understanding and right indifference and their opposites, so the man who is reacting to these higher laws discovers that the discrimination to be shown is again still more subtle and is—for the bulk of the aspirants in the world today—still a meaningless objective. Esoteric Psychology, Vol 2, Page 175

The point he is making here is that as the seeker advances along the path the correct and incorrect choice becomes more subtle. When we were young that which was right and wrong as taught by our parents was pretty simple and black and white, but as one progresses it takes a greater mental effort to see what the right choice is. This progresses to the point that the average person could not eve understand the subtleties of the choices that confront the advanced disciple.

So when any major choice is set before us we must use the mental faculty of discernment to ascertain what we are getting into and where it will take us.

This particularly applies to groups as some can be quite demanding of time.

To find the right group a seeker must first find where they are. If he is interested in physically attending one then he must find one in his area. Unfortunately, many complain that there is little or nothing available. A seeker is fortunate if he does find one of value within easy driving distance. The website “meetup.com’ is a good one to help people find like minded groups in their local area. Local publications are also a good source.

We are fortunate to live in an age where distance poses little barrier as through the internet the seeker has many choices for groups and Zoom gives us the opportunity to have meetings almost as real as the in person ones.

Facebook is most likely the greatest resource of groups as it hosts a whopping 10 million of them. Out of ten million there is something for just about everyone.

In addition, many host groups through other services such as Google or on their own web page. If you cannot find what you want on Facebook just Google your favorite subject or author and a little surfing may lead you to like-minded group. A number of authors and teachers offer group services and classes on their web pages.

In searching for a group the seeker must ask himself if he wants to just have a loose association and learn a few things or does he want something that involves some type of group work and closer connections. If he wants something worthy of intense dedication then this will require some searching. The seeker may have to join numerous groups before he finds a good fit.

If, after searching through he millions of groups available he cannot find one that feels right he can easily create one of his own. If he sounds the right note he can draw like minded souls interested in the same material and goals.

You will know you are in the right group when two things occur.

(1) The knowledge presented registers with your soul and helps center your attention on the light.

(2) You feel a soul connection with the majority of the people in the group, especially the leader or leaders.

Of course, some you will sync with more than others but this is normal. No matter which group a disciple joins he will find that he must apply significant effort in overlooking personality imperfections and seeing the Christ within each member.

(4) Should I join just one group or several?

There are many on Facebook who are members of over a hundred groups. Do you think they pay attention to them all? Not likely. Most will only participate in a handful at most.

The seeker must guard against the scattering of energy by being active in so many groups that he cannot positively contribute to any.

The seeker would be wise pick one main group that will be the center of focus and maybe have several others for a casual relationship.

The extent of his outreach will also be determined by the free time available. If he is retired he can enjoy more latitude in mingling with several groups than if his career demands a lot of attention. Some people are so busy making a living they are lucky to free up time for one or two meetings a week. I have been there and certainly understand that problem.

The key point though is to calculate how much free time you can afford, measure it out with wisdom, scatter not your forces and find a point where participation will provide the greatest benefit.

To read part 1 go HERE , Part 2, HERE, Part 4 HERE, Part 5 HERE, Part 6 HERE, Part 7 HERE, Part 8 HERE, Part 9 HERE, Part 10 HERE, Part 11 HERE, Part 12 HERE, Part 13 HERE

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Group Synthesis, Part 2

Nov 28, 2020
Group Synthesis, Part 2

(2) What is the advantage to me in joining a group?

Even the most hardened isolationist cannot completely detach himself from group influence. After all, we started our lives in the most basic of all groups – a family. Even if you were born to a single mom there was still a group of other family members and friends who assisted her in some way.

Then as a kid you had a group of friends, probably went to a church, an organized group, perhaps joined boy or girl scouts, and also attended school. The various classes you were in were groups as well as your whole school. In addition, you may have been in numerous school groups or played in sports in which many tightly knit groups are formed.

Then your home town itself has a group identity as well as your state and nation.

Various types of groups are necessary for humanity to enjoy the basic benefits of civilization. After all, every group is formed to provide some type of benefit that is not available to the individual on his or her own.

The true spiritual student will also seek out a group for some type of benefit beyond that which can be obtained by the individual. Many have tried the orthodox churches and found them lacking. Some enjoy the social mingling but many complain that the knowledge obtained and shared there is very minimal. You’ll often hear someone say that he can get closer to God going outdoors communing with nature than in church.

So what does the seeker do who is frustrated with regular religion? What often happens is he will come across a friend who will turn him on to some alternative group or reading materials. Others will just find some interesting books on their own or discover something stimulating while surfing the internet. After a time the seeker will gravitate to some type of spiritual philosophy that seems to fit.

As he then absorbs the teachings he is faced with a choice. “Do I continue learning on my own or do I join a group?”

A generation ago it was often difficult to find a group dedicated to a specialized interest, but thanks to technology a seeker can now quickly find a group dedicated to most any subject or popular author. The question these days for seekers is not “Where can I find a group of like interest?”

But “Do I want to join one?”

Of course, whether or not one joins a group will depend on the value seen there. The seeker must therefore ask as to whether any of the groups available are worth joining. One may be thrilled to find a group dedicated to his favorite subject but then disappointed by the quality after joining. If one can find a group of quality like-minded souls that seems right there are a number of possible benefits.

(1) Establishing new friends. It’s always nice to have friends with similar interests.

(2) Like-minded associates can stimulate thinking beyond that which can be obtained with books alone.

(3) Groups provide an opportunity to share as well as receive additional knowledge.

(4) A group may provide avenues of service not available to the isolated individual.

(5) Each group has a shared energy that can be picked up by the individual.

(6) Groups generally figure out creative methods of entertaining themselves which adds value to the quality of the lives of individual members.

Of course the quality of the groups may vary immensely as well as their purpose. Many groups just want to study a subject together while others are actively engaged in some purpose. If the student can find a group that embraces a purpose that speaks to his soul then the opportunity is there not only for obtain personal benefit, but to provide avenues of useful service to others.

DK lists two benefits of a spiritual group:

(1) With those of like degree with whom he is associated in the work. Then their united relation enables them (as a result of their group unity) to be en rapport with levels of consciousness and of activities higher than their own. This is, therefore, a group relation, dependent upon the established inter-relation of group members.

(2) With those to whom he is related karmically; or by his own choice which may not be karmic at all but a newly instituted decision; or by the choice of others opening to him avenues of contacts which he, himself, working alone, would never have made but which are the result of the drawing power of the group soul. Discipleship in the New Age, Vol 1, Pages 183-184).

To read part 1 go  HERE , Part 3 HERE, Part 4 HERE, Part 5 HERE, Part 6 HERE, Part 7 HERE, Part 8 HERE, Part 9 HERE, Part 10 HERE, Part 11 HERE, Part 12 HERE, Part 13 HERE

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