The Seven Rays – part 7

The sixth ray that we’re considering today…has given us so much of what characterizes human consciousness today; all the qualities of idealism and devotion to religious and political ideals. This is what has really characterized the last two thousand years.

Robert: Welcome to Inner Sight. Inner sight is simply seeing that which is always present but not yet fully recognized. You have within you the ability to see yourself and the world around you in a new way with new eyes. So, stay with us and together we’ll look at the world and ourselves with inner sight. Our theme for today is the seven rays—part 7, and the focus today will be on the sixth ray, which is the Ray of Idealism and Devotion. Alice Bailey is the founder of the Lucis Trust and she wrote twenty-four volumes of books and all of our dialogue from this show emanates from her literature. Here’s a thought from Alice Bailey that relates to today’s show: “There is one Life, which expresses itself primarily through the seven basic qualities or aspects, and secondarily through the myriad diversity of forms. These seven radiant qualities are the seven rays.” When we mention “ray” we’re talking about energies and frequencies, things that maybe we can’t see, but nevertheless they do affect us. Before we go forward, I’d like Sarah and Dale to do a recap of what we’re discussing, because we’ve had several shows on the rays. Would you please do that? 

Sarah: We’ve talked about the seven rays being the sevenfold expression of divinity or of the Godhead, and perhaps for reminding our listeners what these rays are, there’s the first Ray of Will or Power, the second Ray of Love-Wisdom, the third Ray of Intelligence, the fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict, the fifth Ray of Science and Knowledge, the sixth ray of Idealism and Devotion, the seventh Ray of Order, Organization, and Ritual. These are the sevenfold expression of God’s essential energy as it manifests throughout the universe. These rays affect the psychology of human beings. They affect institutions, groups, and whole nations. They also govern cycles of time. Last time we were talking about the fifth Ray of Science and Knowledge. It’s the ray of the mind and the increasing power of this ray during the last few hundred years has fostered the development of the human mind, which has manifested in an increasingly widespread literacy throughout the world. It fosters a respect for truth and an urge to validate or to link what is observed with the principle behind it, so it’s the energy that drives the scientist. The experiments that have led to the many scientific achievements of people like Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Marconi, and so on, are examples of the fifth ray energy. It also has a tendency to work out as ideologies because the scientific mind likes to identify and isolate the principles behind a particular institution or form of any sort. So, there have been many ideologies, for example, that have developed around government such as fascism, communism, democracy, national socialism; these are all examples of ideologies that the fifth ray mind fosters. It also affects religion, and it’s interesting to consider the growth of fundamentalism that we see today. This can be traced both to the fifth ray and to the sixth ray, which we’ll be discussing today. The tendency of the fifth ray and of the mind is to identify principles, rules, fundamentals, laws, which are at work behind the scenes. When that mentality is applied to religion there tends to be a kind of fundamentalist approach of laws and principles that naturally emerge. To some extent this works out, I suppose, as doctrine, spiritual scripture and so on, but when it’s carried too far, we can see the results very clearly in the fundamentalism that’s manifesting in a number of different world religions. Alice Bailey said an interesting thing about the religious urge. She said that the driving inner urge, in fact, is the drive towards truth and its mental verification. This is what the religious impulse is: the drive towards truth and the experience of it within one’s own consciousness. But this religious urge can also work out as a desire to instill those same beliefs on others and that will probably come into our discussion today. 

Robert: I certainly agree with you. I can see this ray being set forth in a lot of our history. Another thought from the works of Alice Bailey about the sixth ray is as follows: “This ray, which is just going out of manifestation, is of vital interest to us, for it has set its mark upon our Western civilization in a more definite way than any of the others. It is for us the most familiar and the best known of the rays.” What did Alice Bailey mean that the six ray is just going out of manifestation? I don’t like that. 

Sarah: Don’t worry, it won’t disappear. (laughter) 

Dale: No, it’s not going to disappear altogether, but all of the rays cycle in and out of prominence. They don’t disappear from the scene altogether, but they do from time to time recede into the background and then they will come forward again. Other rays will take over so there is always something new, a new quality that is being added to the mix or to human consciousness. So, all of these rays cycle in and out, and they have different lengths of cycles. The sixth ray that we’re considering today has been in prominent position for many, many centuries, probably at least for the last two thousand years, and is the ray that has given us so much of what characterizes human consciousness today; all the qualities of idealism and devotion to religious and political ideals. This is what has really characterized the last two thousand years, in this what is called the age of Pisces. And to me, if there’s ever any doubt of the existence of these rays, then it’s proven by the characteristics that have developed in human consciousness over this last two thousand years, particularly in in the area of idealism and religion and so forth. 

Robert: Since it’s going to be less prominent, what is the legacy of the sixth ray and what have we gained from it? 

Sarah: Well, we’ve gained qualities and achievements both good and bad. Perhaps the outstanding spiritual achievement has been the capacity for sacrifice that has developed through the sixth ray devotion to an ideal. It manifests in its most perfect form as the capacity for sacrifice and the epitome of sacrifice is the crucifixion, the death of Christ on the Cross for humanity, according to Christian teaching. Another demonstration of sacrifice is philanthropy, giving of one’s own wealth for the benefit, the upliftment and the salvaging of others who have less. This is again an expression of sacrifice. Another legacy of the sixth ray of idealism has been the fostering of the individual as an entity or as a being significant and vitally important in the eyes of God and in his own soul’s perception, throughout the past two thousand years. It’s as if the human being emerged out of the herd, out of the great mass, and became aware of himself as an individual and as a child of God, and this is a factor of the sixth ray. Another characteristic has been the unfolding of what Alice Bailey calls the “capacity for abstraction.” 

Dale: Yes, we have to remember that we haven’t always been so attuned and so adept at abstracting these ideals and that’s why this ray is so important because it has given us this capacity to abstract great ideals from the divine ideas that have been placed in human consciousness, and from these ideas, we’ve shaped certain ideals. We clothe these ideas in our desire nature and they work out in different ways in the world as religious ideals or as political ideas. The capacity to do this is actually something quite new for human development, I would say, and it’s really come down in the last two thousand years or so. 

Sarah: But you can take the recognition of this very achievement—this capacity for abstraction, for devoting one’s energies to attaining something hidden and unknown that lies behind the scenes, not focusing just on the outer material world of form—you can combine that with the capacity for sacrifice and end up either with a saint or a fanatic. We have seen, since the events of September 11th, religious fanaticism carried to its zenith, or its nadir, in the desire to kill what are called the infidels, the people who are viewed as so impure, so corrupted by materialistic and Western culture and values that they should die in order for the world to be a better, more pure place in the eyes of fanatics. The Christian world has its own sorry history of fanaticism and of sacrifice for the sake of an ideal that ends up in the murder of innocent people; it was called the Crusades. When did the Crusades take place? 

Dale: Well, it started from Western Europe in about the eleventh century and continued through the twelfth century. 

Sarah: And it’s still remembered in the Middle Eastern world. 

Dale: Yes, very much so and there’s some opinions that it’s all coming back to us now. But that was started by the Christian fundamentalists from the eleventh and twelfth centuries to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. It was just as terrible at that time as it is today, probably. 

Sarah: And both of these examples are depictions of dedication to a spiritual ideal in the form of proselytizing; the desire to carry your religious belief into other cultures and societies, and to impose those beliefs on others. That’s a factor of the sixth ray approach to religion, and according to the Ageless Wisdom, both Christianity and Islam are governed by this sixth ray in all of its beauty and in its downside too. There’s a tendency in sixth ray religions to focus on a teacher, a particular individual who is seen to embody the ideal, and to demonstrate the goal that is held before all followers. There are good aspects and there are negative aspects to the sixth ray approach to life, but right now, because this ray is on the ebb, we are seeing more of the negative aspects. Apparently as it withdraws, the lower form is more visible. I wonder if I’ve done justice to this ray because all of the seven rays, as we say over and over again, are expressions of divinity, of the Godhead. They become distorted through their manifestation through forms and through human beings. So perhaps identifying a couple of animals that are said in the writings of Alice Bailey to be expressive of the sixth ray will make us all feel better about it. One is the dog and another is the horse. I think they’re very good examples of devotion, of complete commitment to that which is loved, and even of sacrifice through their service to humanity for so many centuries as beasts of work and burden. Maybe that helps us to understand some of the more noble ramifications of the sixth ray. 

Dale: I think we also really have to look at what it’s doing to human consciousness. We talk a lot about the fanaticism that can crop up on this ray and under this quality, which is true, but there is also this capacity to reach beyond where we are in consciousness at the moment to grasp an ideal or a divine idea. That takes stretching the mind to lengths and depths that we’ve never done before, at least as humanity across the board. This is a very valuable experience for the whole human race because this will carry us into the new kingdom, the Kingdom of God, which exists on the inner dimensions; the new qualities, the new values, will come through. So, this capacity to abstract from an ideal is very valuable and very necessary for our own evolution and we should never forget that. 

Robert: Now, both of you have been giving us rather a gestalt picture of this sixth Ray of Idealism and Devotion, so let’s narrow it down a bit. What would be some of the characteristics of a person on the sixth ray? 

Sarah: Well, some of the virtues are, as we’ve said, devotion to an ideal, the ability to be single minded in one’s pursuit of one’s career or whatever goal one has. Other virtues are love, tenderness, loyalty, sympathy, reverence. But the vices are, that the same love, sympathy and devotion, can be transformed into a selfish and jealous love, possessiveness, over-dependency on others, or the tendency to be partial rather than universal in one’s love; to love some people, and to be quite blind and even hateful to others that one doesn’t love. That’s a very familiar sixth ray characteristic. It manifests as sectarianism and prejudice and bias, while at the same time being absolutely devoted to one’s own people, one’s own kind. They’re beloved, and everybody else is not. 

Dale: Yes, we’ve mentioned this before, but what determines whether love and devotion will be expressed in a very deep personal way or in a separative way, depends a lot on the focus of each individual’s consciousness. If they are very personal in their outlook and very concerned for their own personal life, then that represents the lowest point where this sixth ray energy will be focused and everything will be qualified by this particular focus of consciousness. On the other hand, if one has a very inclusive sense and a very loving sense and outward looking, then this ray will also reflect a devotion and loving attitude towards a lot of other people. So, as I said, it depends— and this is true for all of the rays—on where one’s focus of consciousness lies. That will direct the energy because energy follows in the direction of thought. This is a basic spiritual law. Energy follows in the direction of thought and where your thoughts lie, where your thoughts are focused, that’s where the energy will be drawn. 

Sarah: Not only are individuals governed by these rays—we’ve been talking about the individual psychology—but nations are too, as we’ve talked about before. It’s interesting that the United States and Russia both are said to be governed, in their personality, in their outer persona, the face they present to the world, by the sixth Ray of Devotion and Idealism. And one ramification of that is that there is a great warmth and a kind of similar vibration or a kind of shared understanding of life that I think Russians and Americans have between them. This was one of the great discoveries as the Cold War came to an end; how much alike we are in some ways. You can see this also in the idealism, the sense of deep religious faith, which governs both peoples. So, the sixth ray governs nations in this way. 

Dale: Yes, and that’s another fascinating study—to really understand not only people, but the people of a particular nation because they reflect these energies. It’s a very interesting study. 

Robert: We’ve mentioned before that we’re involved with studying spiritual philosophy, so therefore in line with that, how has the sixth ray energy helped humanity advance spiritually? 

Sarah: Coming back to this kind of mysterious phrase, “the capacity for abstraction,” I think the ray instilled in the human being the recognition that there is more to life than the outer material world, more than magical forces and powers that had to be conjured up, that there was an underlying reality that needed to be searched for through prayer, through meditation, through worship. This led to the establishment of great world religions like Christianity and Islam; they have both developed during this past two-thousand-year period. It’s also fostered the religious mystic, which is usually seen in the lives of the great saints and so on. The true mystic is one who is driven towards union with the other, in a sense, union with God, with reality as perceived to be lying outside of oneself rather than the essential inner spiritual essence. The mystic pursues union with God or with spirit by going out from himself toward something beyond himself and that’s an aspect of the sixth ray. 

Robert: So, he’s not looking for the divinity within himself then.  

Sarah: That’s not really his focus. He’s seeking union with something else to be complete. 

Dale: It’s developed in us the capacity for the search for the good, the true and the beautiful and that is so very important in our spiritual development because that puts us on the upward path back to God. To search always for the good, the true and the beautiful in whatever aspect of life we’re living and whatever our focus of consciousness is, but always try to find the good, the true and the beautiful within our life. 

Sarah: If we had to choose music that expressed the sixth ray I think we’d probably say, what? Tchaikovsky? 

Dale: Probably, yes, something very melodic. Also, oratorial writing and religious writing is very much along the sixth ray line too. 

Robert: That’s about all the time we have for our discussion today. You’ve been listening to Inner Sight. Now we’d like to close with the world prayer called the Great Invocation. It’s a call for light and love and goodwill to flow into the world and into our hearts. Let’s listen for a moment to these powerful words. 

Sarah: Closes the program by reciting the adapted version of the Great Invocation

(This is an edited transcript of a recorded radio program called “Inner Sight”. This conversation was recorded between the host, Robert Anderson, and the then President and Vice-President of Lucis Trust, Sarah and Dale McKechnie.)

(Transcribed and edited by Carla McLeod)




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