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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter I
On June 30th, 1895, I had an experience which has made that date for me one that I never forget and always keep. I had been for months in the throes of adolescent miseries. Life was not worth living. There was nothing but sorrow and trouble on every hand. I had not asked to come into the world but here I was. I was just 15. Nobody loved me and I knew I had a hateful disposition and so was not surprised that life was difficult. There was no future ahead of me, except marriage and the humdrum life of my caste and set. I hated everybody (except two or three people) and I was jealous of my sister, her brains and good looks. I had been taught the narrowest kind of Christianity; unless people thought as I did, they could not be saved. The Church of England was divided into the High Church party which was almost Anglo-Catholic and the Low Church party which believed in a hell for those who did not accept certain tenets and a heaven for those who did. I belonged for six months of the year to one party and for six months of the year (when I was not in Scotland and under the influence of my aunt) to the other. I was torn between the beauties of ritual and the narrowness of dogma. Missionary work was dinned into my consciousness by both groups. The world was divided into those who were Christians and worked hard to save souls and those who were heathen and bowed down to images of stone and worshipped them. The Buddha was a stone [35] image; and it never dawned on me then that the images of the Buddha were on a par with the statues and images of the Christ in the Christian churches with which I was so familiar on the continent of Europe. I was in a complete fog. And then - at the height of my unhappiness and in the very middle of my dilemma and questioning - one of the Masters of the Wisdom came to me.

At the time of that happening and for many years after, I had not the remotest idea Who He was. I was scared stiff at the occurrence. Young as I was, I was intelligent enough to know something about adolescent mysticism and religious hysteria; I had heard religious workers discussing it. I had attended many revival meetings and had seen people "losing control" of themselves, as I called it. I, therefore, never mentioned my experience to any one for fear that they would class me as a "mental case" and one who would have to be carefully watched and handled. I was intensely alive spiritually. I was conscious of my faults to an abnormal degree. I was stopping with my Aunt Margaret at Castramont, in Kirkcudbrightshire, at the time and the atmosphere was exactly right.

It was a Sunday morning. The previous Sunday I had heard a sermon which had aroused all my aspiration. This Sunday, for some reason, I had not gone to Church. All the rest of the house-party had gone and there was no one in the house but myself and the servants. I was sitting in the drawing room reading. The door opened and in walked a tall man dressed in European clothes (very well cut, I remember) but with a turban on his head. He came in and sat down beside me. I was so petrified at the sight of the turban that I could not make a sound or ask what he was doing there. Then he started to talk. He told me there was some work that it was planned that I could do in the world but that it would entail my changing my disposition [36] very considerably; I would have to give up being such an unpleasant little girl and must try and get some measure of self-control. My future usefulness to Him and to the world was dependent upon how I handled myself and the changes I could manage to make. He said that if I could achieve real self-control I could then be trusted and that I would travel all over the world and visit many countries, "doing your Master's work all the time." Those words have rung in my ears ever since. He emphasized that it all depended upon me and what I could do and should do immediately. He added that He would be in touch with me at intervals of several years apart.

The interview was very brief. I said nothing but simply listened whilst He talked quite emphatically. Having said what He had come to say, He got up and walked out, after pausing at the door for a minute to give me a look which to this day I remember very distinctly. I did not know what to make of it all. When I had recovered from the shock, I was first frightened and thought I was going insane or had been to sleep and dreaming and then I reacted to a feeling of smug satisfaction. I felt that I was like Joan of Arc (at that time my heroine) and that, like her, I was seeing spiritual visions and was consequently set aside for a great work. What it was I could not imagine, but pictured myself as the dramatic and admired teacher of thousands. This is a very common mistake on the part of beginners and I see a lot of it today in connection with various occult groups. People's sincerity and aspiration do succeed in bringing them some inner, spiritual contact and they then interpret it in terms of personality success and importance. A reaction of over-stimulation. This reaction was succeeded by one in which the criticism He had made of me became uppermost in my mind. I decided that maybe after all I was not in the class of Joan of Arc but simply some one [37] who could be nicer than I had been and who could begin to control a rather violent temper. This I started to do. I tried not to be so cross and to control my tongue and for some time became so objectionably good that my family got disturbed; they wondered if I was ill and almost begged me to resume my explosive displays. I was smug and sweet and sentimental.

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