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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Appendix - The Principles of the Arcane School
II. The Arcane School Trains Adult Men and Women for their Next Step
on the Path of Evolution

When you enter the Arcane School you are taking part in a new experiment in adult education. This experiment is based on three major expectations:

These are as follows:

  1. Each student is pledged to occult obedience.
  2. Each student is entirely free to profit or not by the school curriculum.
  3. Each student can, if he chooses, become a worker in the Arcane School. [284]

What actually is an adult person? He is - from our point of view - a man or woman who has achieved a certain basic integration or integrations, or is consciously attempting to attain them. To be an adult has, in fact, nothing to do with the age of the person. We hold (as does modern psychology) that a human being is a synthesis of the physical nature, vital activity, the sumtotal of emotional states and feeling, and the mind. These various aspects are often unrelated to each other and in the majority of cases the emotional nature dominates all the others, the mind having little opportunity to make its presence felt. When, however, a measure of balance or equilibrium is attained, when the mind, the emotional nature and the vital, physical person constitute one functioning unity, then the man is an adult being. He warrants the name of "personality" and has brought about within himself (as a result of the evolutionary process) a series of integrations.

Many of the students in the Arcane School are working at the problem of personality integration or at the task of developing the mind so that it may effectively control the emotional nature and direct the activities of the man upon the physical plane. Others have attained a fair measure of this personality integration and are now working at a still higher synthesis, i.e., that of the soul with the personality or of the higher Self with the lower self. When this latter integration has been achieved, then the man can be regarded as a "soul-infused personality." At this point, or when it is in process of accomplishment, he can become an accepted disciple - technically understood.

The occult obedience referred to is the obedience rendered by man, the personality, to his own soul. It does not refer to obedience to any teacher or body of doctrines. In the Arcane School, no pledges or vows to obey are exacted from any student, at any stage. As the students have voluntarily entered the school, we assume that they will (still voluntarily) attempt to carry out the requirements. This expectation has, however, nothing to do with occult obedience, but is simply common sense. Occult obedience is a spontaneous reaction of the mind to the imposition of the desires or will of the soul. It means that the aspirant to discipleship is training himself to become sensitive to impressions coming from his soul and then hastens to obey. The goal of meditation is, first of all, to bring about this sensitivity and enable the student, therefore, to work in the light of soul guidance. [285] The personality becomes increasingly sensitive to soul impression by this means and by following the path of true occult obedience.

The school workers and secretaries - both at Headquarters and in the field - never seek to interfere in the spiritual life and efforts of the student. The help given in the meditation work and the suggestions made concerning the spiritual life are freely offered. The requirements cannot be imposed. If the student profits by the work and by the help given, we are glad but (in the last analysis) it is his business what he does with them; if he does not avail himself of the opportunities presented, that again is his business.

To leave the student completely free is a fundamental aim of the Arcane School. This is necessary if he is ever to learn to handle himself intelligently and to grow spiritually. The student can work or not, as he chooses; he is free to leave, when he so desires. Necessarily, if the student never works, never studies, and never sends in his meditation reports, we are forced eventually to conclude that he is not interested and then we drop his name from our active list. We naturally reserve to ourselves the right to drop a student from our list if we feel he is not profiting from what we are seeking to give him.

It is also our policy to leave the student entirely free as regards his private life. The Arcane School imposes no physical disciplines upon the students; we do not require that a man should be a vegetarian, that he should not smoke or touch alcohol, as is frequently the case in occult schools. We regard these matters as entirely his own affair and concern, and we feel that, given the right teaching, he will make his own adjustments in these matters. We know that the soul imposes its own disciplines upon its agent, the personality. It is our task to train him to know his own soul and to be obedient to the requirements of that soul. We therefore set no standard of living for the students, nor do we interfere in their private affairs; the soul will set its own standard as time goes on, if the student is sincere and earnest. We ask no questions and listen to no gossip. We realize that all of us have to learn to be Masters by achieving mastery, so that the One Master in the heart can assume control. It is our aim to help the student to bring in that control by teaching him the ancient rules governing the Path of Discipleship, adapting them to modern conditions and to the more advanced mental comprehension of the modern aspirant. [286]

We also leave our students free to serve as they like and where they like. We do not demand that they join this, that or the other activity, as do some of the esoteric groups. We - as an organization - exact no service from them; we have no lodges, centers or meetings which we expect them to attend; we leave them free to work in any group, church, organization or social and welfare activity which may appeal to them. Our belief is that if we have given them anything of spiritual value, then they should take it and use it in the environment (no matter what it is) which evokes their interest or which demands their loyalty. This complete freedom to work and serve outside the Arcane School is the reason why we have students with so many loyalties actively associated with us as students, but at the same time as actively working in other groups. You will find several kinds of Theosophists and Rosicrucians working in the Arcane School as well as Christian Scientists, churchmen of every denomination - Protestant and Catholic - and men and women of every type of religious and political persuasion. They feel free and they are free.

Again, Arcane School students can form their own groups and give expression to their own ideas and modes of service without interference from us. This they frequently do. However, we take absolutely no responsibility for such groups and they are not regarded as part of the Arcane School or as in any way affiliated with us; they are never sponsored by us. We take no responsibility for them or for what they teach; we do however welcome the effort as providing a field of service for the student and we approve of the attempt to spread the teaching of the Ancient Wisdom. We regard it as a healthy sign when a student tries to work this way, for the need of the world for this teaching is very great and many hundreds can be reached in this manner.

Finally, this experiment in adult education is unique in that the senior students can become school workers, teachers, and as secretaries supervise the work of the younger students. This they can do if they show a grasp of the teaching, are intelligent and love their fellowmen. In 1947 we had about 140 school secretaries but their numbers increase naturally as the school grows, and it is growing very fast. These secretaries are of every nationality. The work of the students in the most advanced degrees is handled by two groups at the Headquarters in New York. [287]

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