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A Co-Worker

THE ASPIRANT to the Mysteries is one who has awakened to the realization that the universe hides a profound mystery. He seeks the Way because he has found life's bright promises ultimately empty and so the journey home begins in darkness and pain. One image of the Path is that of an upward spiral whereby we confront ourselves at each turn of the Path and discover that those things we despise are those limitations within our own beings that we have yet to transmute and transcend.

The butterfly begins its life as a lowly grub. But it is born with certain cells, called imaginal buds, which eventually transform the earth-bound caterpillar into the beautiful butterfly, even as the human being contains from the very beginning the seed of divinity which ultimately affects the transformation of animal-man into the perfectly realized God. The butterfly is an analogue of the soul and its epic journey of transformation, the stages of which are symbolically pictured in the story of the twelve labors of Hercules.

With each incarnation, we expand our consciousness through a series of recognitions and revelations. Our breakthroughs are accompanied by pain, bewilderment and a sense of dislocation, to be replaced by an increase in awareness, skill in action, power and light. Then the cycle is repeated. The great fourth ray, the Law of Harmony through Conflict, governs all human experience and conflict cannot be avoided—it is an integral part of the Earth-plane experience. Level by level, life after life, we experience its lessons of transmutation and transfiguration.

Real change always takes place within. Neither release nor achievement is dependent upon our environing circumstances but upon shifting our perception and our transcendence from one state of awareness to another. Others are not really our limitation, however much they appear to be—they are our teachers and our opportunities to transform—just as we are theirs. The passage of time with its dark and light experiences quickens into life the seed of divinity hidden in the earth—bound soul and activates the imaginal buds in the butterfly grub, finally precipitating the final crisis for both. The grub has always been the butterfly in disguise, just as the lonely, struggling aspirant, has always hidden the bright, shining Soul. The recognition of the unity, the reality of the ONE is the recognition that transforms the dark earth plane into Nirvana. In the words of the Buddha: "The Earth on which we stand is the promised Lotus Land, and this very body is the body of the Buddha...the jewel of eternity is in the lotus of birth and death."

The Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul, echoes and adds detail to the same concept:

"We have all—disciples and initiates of all degrees—to enter the secret place of initiation with a sense of blindness ... and with a feeling of complete destitution. The disciple...descends into what he erroneously regards as the depth of human difficulty and iniquity...preserving always his spiritual integrity but learning three important lessons:

  1. The recognition that he shares all human tendencies, good and bad, and hence is able to serve;
  2. The discovery that the thing which he most despises and fears is the thing which exists most strongly in him, but which is as yet unrecognized. He discovers also that he has to explore and know these despised and feared areas of consciousness so that they become eventually an asset, instead of something to be avoided. He learns to fear nothing; he is all things; he is a human being but he is also a mystic, an occultist, a psychic and a disciple. And—because of all these acquired states of consciousness—he becomes eventually a Master. He has "mastered" all stages and states of awareness;
  3. The uselessness of past attitudes and dogmatic ways of looking at life and people (based usually on tradition and circumstance) when they separate him from his fellow men.

When he has really learnt these three things, he is initiate."1

The chrysalis is a transformative state in which the grub loses all, only to be transformed into the wonder of the butterfly. Life is a great adventure into the unknown, achieved through trial and error, guided by faith and a growing surety that a Purpose and Plan underlie all life and experience. One of the oldest prayers in existence is the plea of all disciples: "Lead us from darkness into Light, from the unreal to the Real and from death to Immortality." Discipleship is the chrysalis stage of the soul whereby the aspirant to the Mysteries wins his way through Resurrection to Light and Life—and just as from the grub emerges the glorious butterfly, so the disciple eventually becomes the Liberated Initiate.

1 Discipleship in the New Age, Vol I, Alice A. Bailey, p. 708-9.

One should become accustomed not to expect manifestations with an elephantine tread, but to sense even the flight of a butterfly.

Signs of Agni Yoga (380)

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