Building a Spiritual Practice through Purpose, Intentionality and Livingness
by David E. Hopper
This purpose of this article is to explore how the aspirant can evolve his consciousness towards the Soul and grow a spiritual practice. The importance of the three aspects that make up a spiritual practice, i.e. meditation, spiritual study, and service, and their significance are discussed. A narrative centers around how energy, force and ‘spiritual tension’ from the Soul functions in a spiritual practice. This understanding is crucial for the consciously aware server that wants to set purpose and intentionality for carrying out his part of the Plan and fulfilling the needs of the greater Group. Finally, the concept of ‘livingness’ is explored in how the aspirant can express Soul inclinations.
The Journey of the Soul
Long ago, the journey of the Soul began when individualization took place. This process involved imparting the spark of mind into man. Until that point the mind of man was spiritually undeveloped and his life forces were generated mainly from the sacral center. This spark gave man the first sense of the separate, “I”. He existed with no particular purpose, except to acquire experience. For untold lifetimes, man acquired experience a measure of understanding and wisdom about who and what he is. Since that time, humans have evolved from the strictly physical and emotional existence to where we are today, although still astral the mind of man is capable of integrating the highest aspects of our nature with the Soul, that ultimately becomes pure Spirit.
For the vast majority of humanity, the average person does not see him or herself whole or integrated, but as a separate personality. He also does not necessarily see himself with a Soul. If he does, he does not know or make efforts towards becoming a fully integrated individual, nor see the purpose. Esotericists on the other hand, know that individual spiritual growth is a part of a larger planetary process. They are making efforts to take the evolutionary process a number of steps further and are initiating conscious change within themselves. In so doing, they become conscious agents OF change – for service.
When considering a chosen spiritual path, the esotericist is mindful of a very curious thing, that he has a dualistic orientation towards his inner and outer worlds. He sees the outer world as a place where life struggles on all levels while at the same time, he seeks to create meaning and understanding in his life. He sees the outer world as a place where higher ideals and truths are masked in glamour and illusion, but still strives to integrate the higher ideals of the Soul. For his inner world, he knows this to also be a place of struggle, but through conscious awareness and integration with higher ideals from the Soul, truths of his being are becoming known directly. There he learns the purpose of his existence, to hold the center of his Being as a living and radiant expression of the Soul for manifesting that higher essence into his life, on all levels.
One of the great goals a person struggles with is to integrate and express love and intelligent service. The esoteric community knows this as love-wisdom. This is where an intelligent mind is grounded and motivated through the Soul’s love in all acts of service. With these thoughts in mind, one can ask:
How can the higher concepts of the Soul be integrated into one’s life?
Before examining that question, a few preliminary thoughts can be covered first. If one approaches consciousness as a detective, clues must be unraveled to make sense of a situation, such as figuring out who he is, finding the nature of his inner character at a given time, and discovering what are his motivations. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: “I am my own mystery, wrapped in an enigma, surrounded by illusion.”
As an extension of the Monad, our pure Spirit, each person is his own chapter of a still greater detective story, where long ago, a great event occurred – that our Souls became separated in consciousness from the Monad, and descended into matter. Each aspirant is charged with figuring out his own direction and motivations for reuniting with that pure Spirit.
If the Monad could use language to express its purpose, it might say: “…but I am already whole, so what is this part of myself that is “disconnected, separated and immersed in matter?” Then the Monad further says: “…this will not do, I want to figure this out. I do not care how long it takes. I am going to call on all available resources, appoint a “living agent,” the Soul, to interact and bring conscious awareness to all these lower planes of matter.”
The Soul sets out to manifest through hundreds of incarnations to reconcile this separation and act as the intermediary between this higher Spirit, the Monad, and the lower planes of the personality. It does this by extending its gaze in two directions – towards the Spiritual Triad and the personality. In this great endeavor, the Soul’s purpose is to bring the higher vibrations of the Spiritual Triad down to the lower planes of the personality. The aspirant, through a Soul-integrated personality, learns to transform the lower physical tendencies with the higher Will, the emotional with buddhi, and the lower mind with higher manas. Thus, the Soul, over these lifetimes, is replacing the lower dense expression of the personality with the higher energies of the Spiritual Triad.
After the personality has been stimulated by the Soul to wake up and realize the illusion he has been living in, it helps for him to be a detective in discovering where he is at in his own mind. He is prompted through spiritual impression from the Soul to answer the following questions:
- Who am I?
- What is my purpose?
- Where am I going? – “I have been many places, seen much but what have I learned?” “Am I learning from these places and interactions with people and experiences?”
“How can I become a wiser person?”
- Why am I separated? What is the problem of just connecting with the Soul and “Be One again”?
- How do I connect with the Soul or my Divine nature?
So the aspirant sets off on a spiritual journey to wake up and become consciously aware of who he is. In so doing, he discovers his purpose, and that he has a part to play in the planetary evolution.
The Spiritual Path has Purpose
A major aspect of the spiritual path is to know what is its higher purpose?
For many spiritual seekers, it is an elephant in the room. It is a question that few people ask themselves or act upon. Why does the vast majority of humanity, regardless of culture, race or nationality have faith in a higher power, or Being but are completely unaware of a higher purpose?
This question has a two-fold answer.
- First, for the average person, purpose means he wants to prosper, be happy, be safe, be secure, and live in a world at peace. The average person is unconscious and ignorant of the existence or purpose of the Path and is controlled by forces or energies that seem to happen with no purpose. This person becomes a victim of seemingly unrelated situations in his life. So, this person is acting completely as a separated personality, not in ‘conscious’ contact with his Soul.
- The esotericist would say, that our highest purpose is to be aware and conscious of the nature of the forces and energies present. Thus, he can effect change in his life, therefore effecting the planet. He acts as a ‘conscious’ creator with love and wisdom.
To walk the spiritual path, he must become conscious of the duality that exists in his nature. He will have to learn to gather the separate forces of his personality, unite or become One in consciousness with them and integrate with the Soul. He will learn to release his separated desires, allowing the Soul to show him that when integrated he can participate in the evolution of humanity.
While on the path, the esotericist will learn how to negate his emotional reactivity, and not be attached to an outcome. He will learn to observe and transcend his own limitations as he becomes aware of the energies in his consciousness. Additionally, he will learn about becoming the Observer in the following instances:
- He will learn to identify the source of the energies in his life and determine whether they are negative or positive. He will ask: “Are these energies / forces serving me? Are they live-giving, or taking energy away from me?”
- He will discover ways to make himself energetically ‘unstuck’ from situations and outcomes.
The concept of service is a necessary component for enabling higher evolution and purpose of the path. Through ‘conscious’ participation on the path, the aspirant-esotericist comes to realize that he is learning to take his mind off his separated self, and identify with his authentic ‘Self,’ the Soul. To do this he will need to completely embrace the Path and ‘become the Path itself.’ After a person learns a process, or new way of being, he will understand that knowing happens directly. He learns to hold this mindset while directly connecting with the Soul.
Further, the esotericist comes to know his purpose by performing occult meditation and by studying the spiritual teachings of H.P. Blavatsky, Alice A. Bailey, Torkom Saraydarian, Helena / Nickolas Roerich, and other various writers in theosophical literature. Through these sources, he will discover that by awakening the intuition he will learn about a higher purpose and the importance of service. Over time, he may act out what he is integrating from a pure Soul impulse because he sees a need. A fully integrated person will not think about service, but respond in the moment.
He will realize there is an evolutionary process, a purpose and a Plan for change and that he is learning to be “consciously” part of it. Once connected with the Soul, performing service is a natural expression towards fulfilling the Soul’s purpose, for the Ashram of which he is affiliated, and the Plan. For a detailed understanding about what true service is and is not, it is described in Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II.
Importance on Becoming the Observer
Early in the 20th Century, a Russian mystic Gurdjieff appeared in Europe and Central Asia. He taught that it is possible to transcend one’s limitations and move into a higher state of consciousness through a discipline, which was originally called the “Fourth Way”, or as Gurdjieff called it a form of esoteric Christianity.
In the movie “Meetings with Remarkable Men”[i] (story by Gurdjieff), both the Russian Prince and young Gurdjieff are at an esoteric school somewhere in Central Asia. The Prince says to Gurdjieff:
“Stay here until you have mastered a force in you that nothing can destroy. Then you will need to go back into life and you will measure yourself by forces which will show you your place.”
This quote refers to the aspirant knowing his own personality, how he perceives the world, and how he interacts with people and situations. By knowing the forces and energies that affect his consciousness, he develops a deep level of knowingness of WHO and WHAT he is – and is not. In essence, they teach him on knowing about his limitations and what his strengths are. As time goes on, this prepares him for greater levels of service for he knows what he can, and cannot do at a given time and place.
The aspirant stands midway between both the higher and lower worlds, while his consciousness identifies and evolves with it. Through observing the mind in meditation, the aspirant will learn to work consciously with force and energy. He will learn what ideas or thoughtforms aid him, and those which hinder him to achieve a connection with the Soul in fulfilling his higher purpose. He knows that stilling the mind and the emotions is not enough. As a budding esotericist, he will want to know ABOUT the process of transforming his lower thoughtforms, if he wants to progress on the Path.
How will he do this?
Initially, through spiritual study he will learn methods of purification.  These may be used for removing those hindrances or obstacles, such as anger, selfishness, reactivity and fear that prevent him from directly knowing the “pure” awareness of the Soul. He will learn to re-pattern his thoughtforms, fears, anger and lower tendencies. He will realize that all is energy.
As the spiritual path unfolds, he becomes a conscious Observer. As much as he connects with the Soul, he will notice how his inner nature is changing. This is akin to developing a mental polarization as he is focusing and learning to hold his consciousness in the place of observing and listening on the mental plane where the Soul resides. He learns to allow the personality to withdraw into the background, and let the Soul’s energies flow unimpeded.
When the Soul’s presence is permeating his consciousness, he learns to practice dispassion and harmlessness, especially when reactive feelings and energies are present. The aspirant and later esotericist eventually transforms the mind in stages, such as through the Probationary and Discipleship phases. He knows that re-patterning his thoughts, will help him to align with the Soul and become a useful tool for expressing the Soul’s higher purpose, which is service.
The Path Forces You to Look Within
If I am a neophyte (or relative beginner) starting out on a spiritual path, I would say:
“I am David; – a separate being from others, but am open to learn and expand my awareness of who I am. I realize that the name on my Driver’s License or Passport is not who I am, but it is the name my parents gave me and that’s how the world identifies me.” This level of awareness allows me to identify with the physical plane, but little else.
Then I can ask: How can I learn to connect with the Soul?
During a given incarnation, the Soul will nudge the personality’s lower mind through impression to expand its consciousness with an inner inclination to reach out and discover that greater part of itself.
Prompted by Soul impression, he may take up some spiritual reading of interest or join a spiritual group. Eventually he will learn that there is something, an essence greater than his own lower mind that is motivating him.
In time, he will meditate and learn that his inner guide is called the Soul. This helps him learn to identify and see beyond just evolving with his own body, emotions and thoughts, but through his developing conscious awareness.
But as the aspirant (the one who aspires), he is still strongly identified with his lower three vehicles where many obstacles will arise, such as emotions of fear, anger and selfishness. He comes to realize his own separative tendencies are keeping him from realizing the higher truths of the Soul. So between his lower worldly nature and the Soul, he often feels he is at a crossroads in consciousness, and asks himself: “Who Am I?”
Through applied techniques – the aspirant studies, meditates and learns to overcome his own personal obstacles (e.g. anger, fears and selfishness) which keep him from fully merging with the Soul’s consciousness. This may include the following:
- Technique of Light – merging of Soul with Personality in overcoming a glamour. See Glamour a World Problem 
- Technique of Indifference – practice of non-reactivity to emotional and lower-mental encounters. See Glamour a World Problem.
- Practice of discrimination – this involves learning to make wise conscious choices, in thought and action and while discerning the pairs of opposites. Ask: “Do I see this situation in stark terms, or are there shades of gray?” Here, the esotericist is working with the abstract mind band by using the intuition and not the lower astral plane where feelings can muddy a clear interpretation.
For me the author, I am an Arcane School graduate. My esoteric and occult training took me on a journey of self-discovery to show that I have a mental, emotional and physical nature – and a Soul. As the lessons and learning progressed over the years, I learned to directly connect with the Soul, see myself as an integrated single functioning “conscious” unit. This is known esoterically as the “Soul integrated personality.” Now, I realize that calling myself the Soul is by no means a completed process of personal evolution, but a stage in a series of recognitions of the various parts of myself (i.e. the mental, emotional, and physical vehicles), and “how they can work harmoniously together.”
Now, with all this said and known, the aspirant sees himself as a “living, functioning Soul with purpose and direction,” and often asks: “What happens next?” He finds that being consciously aware is all very fine and good, but the next step is to put all these elements together into a spiritual practice.
Defining a Spiritual Practice
It is well known that the Spiritual Path is a path of self-discovery. Eventually the seeker learns the truth about his own spiritual makeup, that he is composed of a personality, a Soul, and much later the awareness of pure Spirit. To participate in this endeavor, he will awaken to the fact that a spiritual practice is a structured discipline that must be nurtured and cultivated to foster learning and expansion of consciousness. He will understand that in order to connect with the Soul that certain conditions have to be met. A focused practice will help him to make this a reality.
For the esotericist individually, and as part of an inner group, his immediate goal is to deepen his connection with the Soul, then later with the higher Ashram, of which he is a member. This will be most readily accomplished with a daily and steady spiritual practice. An effective spiritual practice as taught by the Tibetan and the Arcane School, consists of three prime ingredients: meditation, spiritual study, and service.
Through a steady practice of these three things the esotericist is keenly aware of his own inner tension with the Soul. He has a sense, of an inner tension, which is his own internal indicator telling him of the quality and clarity of his connection with the Soul. As long as he is sensitive to it, it will show him that he has a relatively “happening” alignment. These three elements (i.e. meditation, study and service) provide the spiritual worker with a structure and backdrop in consciousness for living, serving and knowing the most effective way to use the mind.
An effective spiritual practice will reveal to the seeker, ‘Who he is,’ and ‘Who he is not.’ Each person who has defined his own spiritual practice will have his own means and tools for discerning what’s right for him, but in the end he must honor that connection, and take responsibility for who he is.
Intentionality, Will and Holding the Point of Tension + Observer
With an understanding about what makes up the spiritual path, a spiritual practice and its purpose, the aspirant / esotericist must learn to take spiritual principles and values in hand, carrying them out with intentionality. This involves an intelligent use of thoughtforms in the mind.
When thoughts are focused by the separated self, the lower Will is focused through the solar plexus. When thoughts are created from a connection with the Soul through the higher mind, then the mind of the aspirant / esotericist becomes subordinate to the Will of the Soul, and later the Group. A deeper connection with the Soul will happen after a fusion of manas and buddhi from the Spiritual Triad, and after construction of the Antahkarana has begun.
In Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II,  the Tibetan, Djwhal Khul tells us:
“…let it be stated that the real building of the Antahkarana only takes place when the disciple is beginning to be definitely focused upon mental levels, and when therefore his mind is intelligently and consciously functioning.”
There is a gap existing between the lower personality and the spiritual triad. This gap or break is made up of “unrefined matter” between manas of the Spiritual Triad, and the mental unit of the lower mind. The Antahkarana is a thread of thoughtform substance that identifies with consciousness and not with form. It is composed of higher intelligent substance and is constructed after the personality becomes Soul-integrated. Its main function is to link the brain with the lowest aspect of manas of the Spiritual Triad. Thus, the Antahkarana functions as a bridge connecting the higher abstract mind with the lower aspects of the human mind.
Eventually for the aspirant, this bridge will connect his regular waking consciousness with pure Spirit, the Monad. When enough of the span has been built to receive or be open to continual impressions from the Triad, there will be a “continuity of consciousness.” This most likely will happen at the Third Initiation. For the aspirant, the best way to build the Antahkarana will be in meditation.
The incoming energies of the Soul’s love and light allow the Higher Spiritual Will (a tension) to flow and manifest in the mind of the esotericist, which eventually results in initiation. This process will eventually cause a merging of the Soul and the lower mind. A point of tension can be holding a focus on a particular thoughtform, such as ‘I want to practice more cooperation and goodwill in my service work.’ Through a conscious effort (i.e. intention) in the waking, or even meditative state, the meditator focuses on the essence of what cooperation and goodwill is, holding that as a new thoughtform (i.e. the tension) which allows it to integrate into his consciousness. In essence, it is a combination of the aspirant’s Will with purpose that holds the focus of the energy of intentionality focused and stable. With this focus of his mind, the aspirant can impose his Will upon the lower vehicles in order to bring them into alignment.
From this, it is understood that intentionality is a decision process in HOW to focus the mind, whereas tension is WHAT focus is being held. At this point, the esotericist has already established a relative point of tension by connecting with his Soul. He has an idea of what it feels like in his consciousness. The point of tension happens when the aspirant / esotericist is able to make contact with the Soul, and stabilize that connection on an ongoing basis. This is known as “holding one’s consciousness steady in the Light.”
In Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, the Tibetan, Djwhal Khul says:
We grow through the medium of our recognitions. A recognition, when it is seen as an aspect or fractional part of a greater whole, is the seed of a major expansion of consciousness. A stabilized expansion of consciousness connotes initiation. This is an esoteric statement of major importance.
Thus, the esotericist must learn to focus the mind, and hold it in a steady state by an act of Will, with intentionality. We all know that the pulls of the emotions or strong lower thoughts, such as anger can make it difficult to hold that higher tension and connection.
When the esotericist is on a conscious spiritual path and has a spiritual practice, difficulties in life can arise, even crisis. He needs to know how to deal with his own inner energies and lower vehicles when relating to the situation. Crises will be dealt with by him when he implements the right use of his Will with intentionality. In this case, the esotericist will want to be firmly aligned with the Soul’s Will before tackling any strong astral, or lower thoughtforms. This is talked about extensively through using mental techniques in the following Blue Books:
- Glamour a World Problem,  using the Technique of Light;
- A Treatise on White Magic,  for overcoming hindrances.
It should be said, that crisis emanates from the Soul plane due to its influence and acts as an impact of light on the consciousness. This light reveals to the esotericist a choice of direction and some kind of action to take. For the esotericist, who is Soul integrated, crisis can be understood as just energy, and therefore can be consciously acted upon through his intentionality.
In times like this, one of the things he can tell himself with firmness: “I AM the Soul – and I am not my fears, anger or selfishness.” Here, he is identifying with the Soul and not with the lower thoughtforms, or energies. It is not the intention here to say this is an easy process, but it can be said at this stage, the process is getting a little easier. Keep in mind, it will still take an act of Will with intention by the personality to transform it. In this way, the consciously aware esotericist is becoming what the Tibetan calls a “white magician.”
Current examples of nations in crisis and struggling for freedom are Syria, Venezuela, Thailand, and Egypt. The concept of freedom has been with man for a long time, but not necessarily in all places of the world. For these countries, the group Soul and the Ashrams are impressing and impulsing an aspect or thoughtform of the Plan that filters down to individual esotericists (and groups) onto the lower planes. They interpret it and present it to average Humanity, who in this case interprets this as the quest for freedom. A closer examination reveals the struggle for freedom is closely associated with many expressions in the outer world for working together in group cooperation…where “all forms are conscious, working in harmony and mutually recognized.“
Again, speaking of crisis, there are instances where one cannot easily deal with a specific emotion or thoughtform directly. For the author, I have found that with some energies, transforming the raw energy is easier to change and deal with if it doesn’t have a name or label tied to it, especially if there’s an attachment to an outcome. I recommend becoming the Observer, and withdrawing any attachments to an outcome, and see the process as just energy. So here I practice discrimination and dispassion.
With a stabilized Soul connection, the esotericist can then set his intention for carrying out his tasks, such as fulfilling service related activities. Ideally, while he is engaged in service, he is holding the point of tension with the Soul and can radiate that presence when he goes about his work. Much later, he will learn to hold tension not just with the Soul, but also with his affiliated Ashram as he carries out his service work on the outer planes. This level of tension would require a very stable connection to be able to intuit and register impressions from the higher mind.
A daily application of these techniques will bring stability and continuity into the esotericist’s consciousness. Daily occult meditation is needed to create and stabilize the Soul connection. This cannot be emphasized enough. After months and years of meditation practice, his connection with the Soul will be so strong, he will eventually create a “continuity of consciousness.”
So, the immediate goal for aspirants and esotericists is to deal with any hindrances that appear so they are no longer a distraction. This frees him up to perform service work and speaks to a higher purpose, which is to hold the spiritual tension emanating from the higher planes, focused in his consciousness.
With frequent effort and discipline through the practice of occult meditation, thoughts and feelings from the lower three vehicles are subordinated to the higher Will of the Soul. This achievement, when realized, results in a mind held steady in the light. The esotericists’ highest objective is realized, which is to function consciously as a mediator of energy and force for the higher Ashram, including the New Group of World Servers.
The New Group of World Servers are a group of men and women of goodwill, who are subjectively linked in service. Their primary aim is to aid with the reappearance of the Christ and Hierarchy, in facilitating principles of the Plan, such as helping to implement a progressive manifestation of light. Through their own individual subjective connections, such as with meditation and telepathy, they act as a link between Hierarchy and Humanity.
By connecting to and holding the group’s objective as a spiritual tension, the esotericist helps to manifest humanity’s purpose. As much as this purpose is held clearly in mind, it will eventually precipitate through other members of the New Group of World Servers and filter into average humanity so that they come to recognize that there is higher purpose to work out. By this process, he becomes a willing participant in cooperating with the Masters, the Ashrams, and the manifesting of the Plan. When the esotericist sees outward physical plane activities happening due to these conditioning factors, such as through the mainstream media, then it will be known it has been registered into the minds of average humanity.
It is incumbent for esoteric students to maintain the focus and become involved in these areas of higher group expression. In this way, they are helping to shape and mould public opinion. Historically, there are many examples of the higher point of tension outwardly expressed through various relief agencies of the United Nations over the last 60 years, such as UNICEF and Refugee Relief. There have been other actions of people and groups in the form of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, people caring for the environment, fostering mediation, including conflict resolution to neutralize regional conflicts, and stop violence.
When the esotericist is holding the point of tension with the Soul in carrying out service, that connection has a “living” quality to it. What is ‘livingness?’
Here’s a quote from the January 2014, Arcane School letter:
“Life [or livingness] refers to the quality of consciousness that we invest in our daily thought and activities. By striving to apply our awakening sense of group awareness to our personal lives, a magical reformation occurs with far reaching effects. A shining presence reveals itself through the known and familiar, through every act and gesture, ….inert matter is awakened by the current of the group life passing through.”
In essence, “livingness” is a very high level of Soul expression and involves letting the Soul and its energy move through the aspirant’s consciousness freely. From this we understand that livingness not only means to bring conscious awareness to all that he does, but also implies bringing vital Soul life to the inert matter of the personality and the lower vehicles.
Livingness also involves expressing the Soul’s love, light and consciousness through ALL that the aspirant-esotericist does. It is a prompting energy to practice harmlessness, integrity and compassion with individuals and groups. But it is more than just an awareness, it is this vital energy and consciousness of the Soul that one holds as he goes about his work. It can be thought of also as a presence always in the background – if he can be so aware. As much as the esotericist makes the effort and identifies with that Soul energy, then as a soul-infused personality he is guided and can set his intentionality from that place. As mentioned before, this energy gives the esotericist purpose, intention and direction.
What are some examples of Livingness in action?
- Spiritual Livingness exists in numerous places in the world. There is the ongoing expansion of civil rights, and ending discrimination against sexual orientation, women and minorities. There is a long way to go and real progress won’t be realized until society, governments and the legal system enact laws to protect people. When the laws are enacted and society recognizes all peoples, regardless of race, color, gender or sexual orientation, then we will be well on the path of realized brotherhood and sisterhood.
- Spiritual livingness is expressed through environmentalists and animal rights activists who are working in numerous international forums to protect natural environments and stop the cruelty to animals.
- Around the world, there are ongoing trends towards stabilization of governments; allowing for self-determination and peaceful protest; a neutralization of violence in favor of mediation and conflict resolution in all governments, economies and cultures.
- Livingness manifests in the form of an attitude of personal health through right eating and physical activity. It is now very common to see people of all ages engaging in various physical activities, such as sports, jogging, yoga workshops, and working out at gyms. In these examples, the average person is engaging in these activities through an inner urge to betterment. Besides the obvious benefit of good health, the esotericist also understands that keeping the physical body healthy will provide the Soul a clearer vehicle for the Soul light to shine forth and with a more responsive instrument for expressing service.
- By consciously holding a connection with the Soul as a tension, the esotericist becomes a listener. By holding this mindset and quality connection with the Soul, then the subtle energies can be psychically picked up by him, and sensed by others ̶ as he is radiating Soul qualities.
- Another way for the aspirant / esotericist to integrate livingness into his spiritual practice is to analyze his own ray structure. This is the study of esoteric psychology. With this knowledge he will understand the nature of the forces and energies that affect his being, control his lower three vehicles, and condition his consciousness.
The Tibetan defines a ray as:
“A ray is but a name for a particular force or type of energy, with the emphasis upon the quality which that force exhibits and not upon the form aspect which it creates. This is a true definition of a ray.”  (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. I)
The seven rays are in essence seven qualities of energy and force. The three rays of aspect condition the aspirant’s consciousness. The four rays of attribute condition his character. The 7 rays of aspect and attribute are described as:
Rays of Aspect:
Ray 1: Ray of Power, Will, or Purpose
Ray 2: Ray of Love-Wisdom
Ray 3: Ray of Active Creative Intelligence
Rays of Attribute:
Ray 4: Ray of Harmony through Conflict (of Beauty or Art)
Ray 5: Ray of Concrete Science or Knowledge
Ray 6: Ray of (Abstract) Idealism or Devotion.
Ray 7: Ray of Order or Ceremonial Magic  (Ray & Initiations)
The aspirant can analyze his own ray makeup by understanding how the rays affect and condition his:
- Mental body
- Emotional / Astral body
- Physical body
What is the significance of the rays in a spiritual practice?
For this analysis, the aspirant can determine, ask questions, and make reasonable assumptions on which ray(s) condition him. For example:
- His thinking (mental body);
- Feeling / astral nature (emotions);
- Overall pattern in how the personality thinks or expresses;
- What is the Soul’s natural inclination;
- How does a ray mould his physical appearance.
Overall, a ray determines the quality of one’s astral-emotional nature in how a person feels and expresses, or reacts to a situation. They provide a general tone on the lower mental, emotional and physical planes of his personality. Further, a ray analysis provides understanding of strengths and weakness in the aspirant’s character and general makeup.
For the aspirant / esotericist he will use an analysis of his own ray make up as a tool for helping him decide how he approaches a situation in which he is engaged. He will want to connect and know directly about something, not just intellectually. He may ask himself: “What is my approach to my spiritual studies?” Do I take a 5th ray approach and analyze information, or am I more feeling (2nd or 4th ray) towards it?
How does he approach his service work? This is again an important self-study in identifying strengths and weaknesses. Through a thorough understanding of the forces and energies that influence him, he can:
- Identify a weakness and ask himself: “Do I want to change this, or wait?”. It is quite possible that he is not ready to change as it could be too disruptive in his life.
- Concentrate upon the ray (e.g. its strength) to cultivate its higher quality, to make sure he wields it through thought and action. This is akin to aligning with that ray quality prior to any major undertaking, and making sure it is pervading in his consciousness.
- Determine which weakness he has and offset it with the opposite ray energy, or strength.
To gain a deeper understanding of analyzing one’s own ray makeup, the Tibetan discusses hypothetical charts in Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II. 
Service is Goodwill in Action
The Tibetan, Djwhal Khul defined service as the spontaneous effect of Soul contact. The motivation to serve will not come from the personality alone. It must have Soul stimulation (i.e. inspiration) to give the personality an energy to aspire towards and carry out higher spiritual activities.
How effective the esotericist will be in his service work is determined by the amount of integration of his lower three vehicles with his Soul. If the personality is well integrated, then the Soul’s light and love will pour more easily through the vehicles of the personality.. If the personality is dominant and overbearing, then the very matter of the lower vehicles (i.e. lower mental, emotional and physical) will render the higher energies muted.
Service is not an activity, nor something which people must do. Service is considered to be a demonstration of the life of the Soul (i.e. livingness) through the human personality on the physical plane. As the Soul is naturally group conscious, it impresses the personality with the urge to serve and the personality responds with the inner urge to cooperate by implementing higher purpose from a group focus.
The term service denotes spiritual qualities and virtues of the Soul, which are focused outwardly, but known by the aspirant as an inner reality and livingness. In the outer world, service is a powerful Soul expression for enabling right group relations.
Examples of this can be the server providing guidance for problem children in the home and in the school. It is a means to help rehabilitate people using drugs and alcohol and it is a means used in diplomacy to bring opposing parties to the table for negotiations.
The outward expression of service is also a means par excellence, for awakening people to their own spiritual consciousness, giving them a sense of responsibility for themselves and the group they are increasingly identifying with.
The esotericist will also discover that he will need to improve his existing mental, emotional (astral), and physical bodies so that they become more sensitive instruments to meet the subjective demands of the Soul. This will enable the mind to have a certain alertness for dealing with destabilizing and disruptive thoughtforms.
Physical / Etheric Preparation
Physical / etheric preparation does not relate to, for example training for a race or an Olympic event, but preparing the gross-dense matter of the physical body for connection with the higher planes. In today’s parlance, it can be called an “upgrade”. If a person’s body is just composed of “unprepared” lower and dense matter, it is not possible for him alone to contact the higher planes, or the higher vibration of the Soul to permeate the etheric body. In this case, the higher vibration of the Soul would have virtually no impact on the brain, or physical /etheric body.
Regarding, diet there are no hard and fast rules. The Tibetan, Djwhal Khul recommends becoming a vegetarian, thus eliminating meat and most dairy products from the diet. Here, he is referring to purifying the physical form, whereas eating denser matter, such as meats keep one’s vibration at a lower functioning level. In Initiation Human and Solar,  the Tibetan says:
“A disciple must confine himself to vegetable, grains, fruits and nuts. Only thus can he build the type of physical body which can stand the entry of the real man who has stood in his subtler bodies before the Initiator.”
The purpose he indicates would be to prepare the disciple for initiation. But how many people are really ready for initiation? The esotericist must always keep in mind how to implement a balanced diet for himself, taking into account his life and circumstances. He must impose balance and equilibrium in any approach towards all aspects of his life.
The Soul’s natural state is calm, clear, and of pure awareness. The aspirant’s intention is to create a stable, quiet astral vehicle for the Soul to flow through.
- Whatever he does, his emotions should not be out of compulsive behavior or coming from a place of reactivity. Again, know who you are, your limitations, what you can contribute to the work, and not be held back by fears, or other inhibiting astral tendencies.
- Ultimately, we must learn to strongly contain personality tendencies negating selfishness, fears, and anger by practicing dispassion and harmlessness so it can become a pure reflector of the Soul. This will not happen overnight, but take months or even years of purification and alignment in meditation.
Monkey-mind chatter must be eliminated, or strongly negated, and the mind must become stable and calm. Learn to be in a listening and observing mode. This entails:
- Being alert for impressions and telepathic contact. Note, this can also be in the form of imagery from higher abstract mind, or the Soul.
- Employing methods for strengthening and building the Antahkarana, by doing the following:
- Study and note abstract things in consciousness. This involves making associations between abstract and concrete ideas, or thoughtforms, and seeing the relationship between them.
- Meditate regularly. This allows the aspirant to comprehend and gain deeper wisdom.
- Make constant efforts to draw forth the intuition by willing the Soul-integrated personality to connect with the Spiritual Triad.
- As much as the mind is enlightened by the Soul’s light, the more the esotericist is aligned with the Soul’s vibration, and the more he can give out in service.
- He learns to control all that he thinks by re-patterning those thoughtforms that do not work, or produce negative results. He learns to create a new intentionality by making all of life experiences and activity of the Soul’s purpose. Thus, he shapes his personality in the image of the Soul, and becomes a conscious agent of change.
- Learn to connect with Soul awareness. This is done by first connecting with the Soul in meditation. Next, recognize that connection with the Soul as a point of tension, and finally attempt to hold that awareness in the conscious waking life.
- When he has progressed a certain distance on the path, which constitutes the latter stages of the path of the Probationer and Disciple, then channels for impression and intuition from the Soul open up. This allows the him to convert and emulate impressions (or intuition) from the Soul when he is wanting to manifest higher values. Higher values may include:
- Love of Truth – develop a listening capacity; be honest when observing his inner world of the Soul
- Spirit of Cooperation – negate selfishness and separativeness
- Sense of Justice – express compassion
- Sense of personal responsibility
- Serving the common good, and not selfish ends
- Be the Example as a disciple of the teachings
In conclusion, this article discussed how purpose, tension, intentionality, and livingness function as some of the most important ingredients for a spiritual practice. A person so equipped with this knowledge will know better how to work with the forces and energies in his consciousness for allowing the Soul light to radiate. The aspirant knows that an effective spiritual practice will require a certain amount of discipline to maintain a vital Soul connection. This connection is experienced as a tension, which tells him of a quality guiding him in all his activities. With a sincere effort and focus through the practice of occult meditation, thoughts and feelings from the lower three vehicles are subordinated to the higher Will of the Soul. This allows for the livingness aspect of the Soul to freely move through the aspirant’s consciousness.
 – Online: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gurdjieff/. Last accessed: June, 11, 2014.
 – Georgi Gurdjieff, Meetings with Remarkable Men, DVD: Meetings with Remarkable Men, Morning Light Press, 2005 – Quote from movie.
 – David E. Hopper, The Soul Source – A Primer for Living as a Soul, (Amazon Online: Create Space, 2014), p. 90.
 – Alice A. Bailey, Glamour: A World Problem (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1971), pp. 190-241.
 – Alice A. Bailey, Glamour: A World Problem (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1971), pp. 241-245.
 – Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1971), pp. 41.
 – Alice A. Bailey, Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1981), pp. 740.
 – Alice A. Bailey, Glamour: A World Problem (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1971), pp. 190-241.
 – Alice A. Bailey, A Treatise on White Magic (New York: Lucis Publishing, 2005), pp. 84-90.
 – Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. I (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1975), p. 316.
 – Alice A. Bailey, Rays & Initiations, (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1976), p. 558.
 – Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1971), pp. 295-302.
 – Alice A. Bailey, Initiation, Human and Solar (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1997), pp. 196-198.