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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter IV
Chapter IV

Walter Evans had left me when I was thirty-five. Much observation had indicated to me that thirty-five is frequently a turning point in many lives. If a person is ever to find their life work, if they are ever in any particular life to attain a measure of surety and usefulness, it will be at that age. Numerologists would affirm that the reason is that 7 X 5 = 35; seven indicating a finished cycle, a completeness, and the opening of a door into a fresh experience; whilst five is the number of the mind and of that intelligent creature we call man. I would not know. I am sure there is something to numerology, for God, we are told, works through numbers and form, but I have never been impressed by numerological deductions.

The fact remains, however, that 1915 saw me entering into an entirely new cycle, and, for the first time, discovering that I had a mind which I began to use, to discover its flexibility and potency, and employ as a "searchlight" into my own affairs and ideas, into the world of surrounding affairs, and into a realm of discovery that we might call spiritual - the world which the ancient Hindu teacher, Patanjali, calls "the raincloud of knowable things."

It was whilst I was passing through the difficult time in which I worked as a factory hand that I contacted Theosophy. I do not like the word in spite of its beautiful connotation and meaning. It stands in the public mind for so much which it essentially is not. I hope to show, if I can, what it really is. This marked the opening of a new spiritual era in my life.

There were two English women living in Pacific Grove at that time who were of the same social background in [134] Great Britain as myself. I had never met them but had wanted to, largely because I was lonely. I would have enjoyed meeting someone from the old country and I had seen them about the streets of the little town. Rumor reached me that they were having a drawing room meeting on some peculiar subject and a mutual friend managed to get me an invitation. My motives in going, therefore, were not of the highest. I did not go to hear something new or interesting, or to get help. I went because I wanted to meet these two women.

I found the lecture very dull and the lecturer very poor. I can imagine no worse lecturer anywhere. He began his talk with the flat statement "Nineteen million years ago the Lords of the Flame came from Venus and planted the seed of mind in man." Except for the Theosophists present I do not think anyone in the room knew what he was talking about. Nothing that he said made any sense to me. One reason was that in those days I took my date of the evolutionary cycle from the Bible and the Bible places the date of creation as having happened in the year 4004 B.C. I had been too busy living and being a mother to have had time to read the current books on evolution. I am not sure I believed in evolution and remember reading Darwin and Herbert Spencer with a feeling of guilt and of disloyalty to God. The idea of the world being nineteen million years old was just sheer blasphemy.

The lecturer wandered all over the world of thought. He told the audience that each of them had a causal body and that apparently that causal body was inhabited by an Agnishvatta. It sounded to me like complete nonsense and I doubt if that kind of lecture ever helps anybody. I registered a resolve at that time that if I ever found myself lecturing I would endeavor to be everything that this Theosophical lecturer was not. But I had gained one thing - the [135] friendship of these two women. They took me immediately in hand and gave me books to read and I was in and out of their home, talking and asking questions, a great deal.

My days then became very long. I would get up in the morning at four o'clock. I would clean the house, prepare the lunch for the three children and at 6 o'clock give them their breakfast, after washing and dressing them. Then, at 6:30 I would take them over to the woman next door and then go down to the factory where I packed those darned sardines. At noon I would be eating my lunch when the day was fine on a strip of beach. Usually by 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon I would be back home. If it was winter time, I would play with the children indoors or read to them. If it was summer time, I would take them down to the beach. By 7 o'clock we would be home for supper and then they all three would be tucked into bed. After putting the clothes to soak or the bread to rise, I would crawl into bed and read quite steadily until midnight.

I have always been one of those people who temperamentally require very little sleep. When I was quite a young girl a doctor told me (and he knew me very well) that I never needed more than four hours sleep a night and he was entirely right. To this day I am usually up at 4:30 a.m. and (after getting my breakfast) I write and work until 7. That has been my life rhythm and perhaps is one of the reasons why I have been able to accomplish so much.

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