The Disciple, Initiation, and Service
Initiation, as aspirants of the Ageless Wisdom learn, is not an honor or a beautiful ceremony, though both of these aspects are incidental to initiation, but rather an opening in consciousness. Through meditation and alignment with the soul, and later with the Spiritual Triad and the Ashram, we experience a series of great new expansions of consciousness, which lead to a much greater vision and awareness than we have had before. We know that to initiate an action or activity is to begin one. Initiation—an increase in vision, is to begin a new phase of work. Each new expansion in consciousness leads to new activity of some sort on some, or several planes. Therefore, initiation is both an end and a beginning. Initiation is not something we seek for itself, if we are servers on the Great White Way; rather, it is something that is achieved and experienced as a result of right thought, action and resulting service which then allows us to work on a higher level of the spiral as we then move to the next level of endeavor.
We know there actually is a ceremony, because even if we have no recollection in our brain consciousness, we are given a brief description of some aspects of the ceremonies described by the Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul, in Initiation, Human and Solar. We know, for example, that if the aspirant has not done the necessary purification that the touch of the wand of the Initiator can destroy (shatter) the vehicle of the aspirant.
Initiation is a testing—we undergo it blindly and seemingly, alone. Blindly, for we do not usually realize what is happening. We experience the testing as one of the supremely difficult and trying moments of our lives—not a great honor—but a searing experience which truly tries every particle of our being and puts to the test on many levels our understanding and ability to live out in reality the aspects of the Ageless Wisdom we have been learning.
This aspect of initiation is depicted for us in several instances in the New Testament in the four gospels. Perhaps the real first initiation is not the physical birth of the baby in the manger, but Christ as a youth in the Temple teaching and discussing the truths with the scholars and rabbis—the birth of the Christ consciousness in the guise of the first initiation, a turning from the selfish and self-indulging interests of the personality to those of the higher self and the group.
Then comes the baptism in the River Jordan—this initiates Christ's ministry. A great new realm of responsibility opens up as a result of this second initiation in consciousness which we know as baptism and the purification and control of the astral body of the disciple to be. Until the astral body is controlled, the disciple is dangerous indeed—his glamour is frequently increased by soul contact and his critical spirit, his furious activity, his sense of righteousness and power are also greatly increased. Frequently, the seeds of ambition are also fanned and we have someone who does much harm and damage.
The third initiation marks the first initiation when the great chains of earthly imprisonment really are almost destroyed. The illusions of the mental plane are dealt with and we experience the transfiguration. To use several homely images--the half-formed frog in the form of the tadpole becomes the perfectly realized new frog--or the larva becomes the newly emerged, glistening butterfly, not yet able to fly but now in its beautiful new, form.
What happens when these wonderful beings spread wings, or finally hop from the water? Well, we see the initiate undergoing the crucifixion, the final transcendence of the personality and the earth plane existence.
These glimpses into the major initiations are awesome, in the real meaning of this word: "a mixed feeling of reverence, fear, and wonder, caused by something majestic, sublime, sacred." (Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, 1999)
Initiation is, like life, inevitable. We do not need to, nor should we, make it a goal. It will come as a result of effort to change, to grow, to live and to understand more fully. If we focus on the immediate tasks of living each day as fully as possible in the light of the highest truths as we perceive them, and fulfilling our immediate sphere of responsibilities as meticulously and with all the integrity we can muster, we will be fitting ourselves for service, discipleship, and yes, for initiation, for the link among these three is indisputable and inevitable.