This whole section is taken from the book, Agni: Way of Fire, by Bruce Lyon.
This technique outlined by the Tibetan in Glamour: A World Problem is a core foundational practice for disciples reaching towards the Third Initiation and seeking to practice Agni Yoga. I am going to include the entire section here with commentary.
By means of this technique, the soul assumes control of the integrated personality and of its relations, horizontal and vertical. This technique involves the unfolding of the flower of the intuition, dispelling illusion, revealing the Angel, indicating the Presence, and opening up to the disciple the world of ideas and the door of the higher initiations. Through the disciple’s grasp and application of these divine ideas or seed thoughts, he becomes initiate and the third initiation becomes possible as an immediate goal. The intuition is the applied power of transfiguration. This technique is related to the little known yoga called Agni Yoga or the yoga of fire.
“The intuition is the applied power of transfiguration”. This statement runs counter to many modern presentations about the intuition where it is seen as something that occurs without effort and one need but be passive and open to receive it. The Agni yogi precipitates the intuition just as he ‘causes’ synchronicity through the power of his striving at a high point of tension. It is not personality striving but soul striving that is occurring here. Transfiguration is not so much an event as a process. Anything in the three worlds can be ‘transfigured’ to the extent that the inner life reveals itself through the form. An initiate is able to demand this revelation and therefore reach into the essential significance behind any outer form, be it a thoughtform or physical manifestation. He ‘causes’ synchronicity by demanding that the true underlying coherent pattern of things emerge, and this very emergence of pattern is what we call synchronicity.
(Quotes from the Tibetan in italics. Commentary and bolding is mine – Bruce Lyon.)
1. The evocation of the stage of tension. This is basic and essential. It is a tension brought about by complete control of the personal self so that it is “fitted for contact with the real.”
Not a small preliminary step. This tension is held at the anja centre as the seat of the integrated personality and is achieved through the mind.
2. The achieving of a state of fusion with the soul or with the Angel which guards the approach to the Path of the Higher Evolution.
This tension is achieved in the causal body where the identity is transferred from mind to soul—soul here referring to the descended essence of the triadal solar angel who has built the causal body on higher mental levels but is not confined to it except by free sacrificial Will.
3. The holding of the mind steady in the light of the soul, which remains the attitude of the lower self for the entire remaining period of work, held at the point of tension by the soul and not by an effort of the personality. The soul undertakes this holding when the personal self has done its utmost to achieve the desired tension.
This is an important insight. The soul undertakes the holding of the personality point of tension once the lower self has achieved the requisite point of tension. This allows the incarnating identity—the disciple—to be free for a time from his own lower vehicles without them losing their focus. This requires the transfer of identity from mind to solar angel to Fourth Creative Hierarchy in two fluid steps. Identity is a shifting process, but the capacity to identify is the result of the combined functioning of the Fourth and Fifth Creative Hierarchies. The human soul can be considered masculine to its devic feminine counterpart, the solar angel. The human soul considered as triadal operates on the three planes of the triad, but it operates through the devic life of those planes and this life is part of a three-fold ‘entity’ of its own.
This entity could be called the ‘Angel of the Presence’. The other entity composed of the intelligence of substance with which we are familiar is the ‘Dweller on the Threshold’, which could be said to be the combined intelligence of the three vehicles of the personality. Where this intelligence has not been ‘solarised’ it remains resistant to fusion with the Angel.
The human soul first of all thinks it is (identifies with) its personality vehicles until finally it integrates a coherent sense of identity called the personality, which is able to formulate a purpose and direct the lives that compose its three vehicles. This sense of self is gradually transferred into the soul via the causal body on the higher mental plane. The human ‘soul’ now must go through a further disidentification process from the matter of the planes of the triad in order to integrate itself into a coherent purposeful identity on the atmic plane as a ‘Master’, and eventually realise itself as the monad who operates through the Angel in the same way that the soul operates through the Dweller or the personality.
The Angel of the Presence then is part of the same triadal being that also consists of the solar angel and represents the devic counterpart to the human soul. The aim of the human evolution is to gradually disidentify itself from the devic evolution before realising its identical source on the monadic plane.
These are the three preliminary steps for which the practice of alignment should have prepared the student of the higher mysteries. These steps must precede all effort to develop the intuition, and this may take several months (or even years) of careful preparation. Fire is the symbol of the mind and these are the first three stages of the Agni Yoga discipline or of the yoga of fire for which Raja Yoga has prepared the student.
In effect these early stages result in the bridging of the antahkarana on the mental plane. The Fifth Ray integration formula of “three minds unite” is useful here. It is on the mental plane, the plane of fire, that the energy of the lower mind, the higher mind and the ‘son of mind’ come together and recognise their synthetic source. Hence this plane is also referred to as “the council chamber of the Three Divinities”. The symbol for Agni on the front cover of this book will be a helpful meditative focus for understanding and achieving the above synthesis.
Next come six more stages in the Technique, and these must be thoroughly understood and form the basis of prolonged brooding and intelligent reflection, carried on whilst the daily avocations and duties are being performed and not carried out at certain set times. The trained intuitive or disciple lives ever the dual life of mundane activity and of intense and simultaneous spiritual reflection. This will be the outstanding characteristic of the Western disciple in contradistinction to the Eastern disciple who escapes from life into the silent places and away from the pressures of daily living and constant contact with others. The task of the Western disciple is much harder, but that which he will prove to himself and to the world as a whole will be still higher. This is to be expected if the evolutionary process means anything. The Western races must move forward into spiritual supremacy, without obliterating the Eastern contribution, and the functioning of the Law of Rebirth holds the clue to this and demonstrates this necessity. The tide of life moves from East to West as moves the sun, and those who in past centuries struck the note of Eastern mysticism must strike and are now striking the note of Western occultism. Therefore, the following stages must follow upon the three earlier. We will continue with the numbering as given, for what I here suggest is a formula for a more advanced meditation attitude. I said not form.
The movement of souls from East to West is a reflection of the emphasis moving from the Sixth to the Seventh Ray in the Aquarian Age. The Sixth Ray abstracts the consciousness, and when operating at a personality level assists in the contact with the soul. The Seventh Ray externalises consciousness. If the Sixth Ray has not done its work then the consciousness which externalises is a personality consciousness. The result of this would be a very material age indeed. If however, the transition of identity has taken place between personality and soul, then that which externalises is the kingdom of souls.
In a world where personality consciousness dominates, then what is needed to contact the soul is ‘withdrawal and abstraction’ from the prevailing thoughtforms in order to stabilise the consciousness in the higher mind. When the battle for the mental plane of the Earth is won however—as it has been—what is required is the transformation of consciousness by the externalisation of the soul of humanity.
Thinking this through in the individual situation we find that meditative practice is particularly useful when seeking to abstract the indwelling consciousness from its preoccupation with the unreal in order to contact the real. Once the soul has been contacted then the identity must shift into the soul. It is at this stage that Agni Yoga can begin. The identity is now causal and so the entity meditating is the soul and not the personality. The soul contemplates the monad—it is empowered. The soul contemplates the three worlds—they are empowered.
Meditation becomes a way of life because it is inherent in the identity rather than a practice which is engaged in from time to time. Meditation on the soul results in transformation. Meditation as the soul results in transfiguration.
4. Definite and sustained effort to sense the Presence throughout the Universe in all forms and in all presentations of truth. This could be expressed in the words: “the effort to isolate the germ or seed of divinity which has brought all forms into being.” I would point out that this is not the attainment of a loving attitude and a sentimental approach to all people and circumstances. That is the mystical way and though not intended to be negated in the disciple’s life, is not used at this time in the process of effective approach. It is the effort primarily to see in the light which the Angel radiates the point of light behind all phenomenal appearances. This is, therefore, the transference of the mystical vision to the higher levels of awareness. It is not the vision of the soul but the vision or the spiritual sensing of that which the light of the soul can aid in revealing. The flickering soul light in the personal self has enabled the disciple to see the vision of the soul and in that light to reach union with the soul, even if only temporarily. Now the greater light of the soul becomes focussed like a radiant sun and it reveals in its turn a still more stupendous vision—that of the Presence, of which the Angel is the guarantee and promise. As the light of the Moon is the guarantee that the light of the Sun exists, so the light of the Sun is the guarantee, did you but know it, of a still greater light.
The disciple has become aware of the light of the soul hidden in the personality life and has aligned his intent with the intent of the soul. He then transfers his identity into the soul, realising that he is and always was the soul. Except that he then notices a light—the dark light of Spirit—that flickers at the core of the soul and thus begins to align his soul intent with the intent of the monad, which is ultimately the intent of the Logos.
This process works internally and externally. When the self-as-soul focuses on itself, it finds at its core a deeper self. When the soul focuses outwards into matter it—by definition of its focus—is adding soul light to the light of matter and revealing the light of Life itself through the fusion of the lesser lights. This is obvious philosophically.
If everything including matter is in fact Spirit, whether we are conscious of it or not, then consciousness is both that which allows us to realise this, and the field of that realisation itself.
When the personality looks out on the world of forms it sees only forms. When the soul looks out it sees not only forms but the indwelling soul light within those forms. The soul then naturally seeks to bring the soul light and personality forms together. A partly soul-infused human will naturally try and ‘transform’ his world by bringing the outer forms into alignment with the inner vision that he ‘senses’ as a soul. A non-soul-infused being will merely accept the world for what it is and seek to manipulate it for his own purposes. A fully soul-infused being will no longer seek to transform the world because his own transformation will already be complete. He will then see the world of form and the world of soul as two aspects of one reality, dual only in the time and space necessary to complete their fusion. He is seeing in the light which the Angel radiates, the dark light of Purpose that lies behind all manifestation whether in consciousness or form. He begins to see the world as evolving perfection, because of course our purpose is perfection, and this perfection is ever present beyond the time and space of ‘perfecting’ and lies at the core of all existence. It is the blueprint that we are evolving into, already present at the beginning. We cannot become that which we are not already.
5. Then, having sensed the Presence—not theoretically but in vibrating response to its Existence—there next comes the stage of the ascertaining of the Purpose. Hope of identification with the purpose lies too far ahead even for the average initiate, under the status of Master. With that unattainable stage (for us) we are not concerned. But we are concerned with the effort to achieve an understanding of that which through the medium of form is seeking to embody the high purpose at any particular point in the evolutionary cycle. This is possible and has been achieved down the ages by those who have rightly approached and duly reflected upon the Way of the Higher Evolution. This Way is revealed to the disciple, e’en though it may not concern the intuitive message which he may bring back from his high adventure.
The Way of the Higher Evolution concerns the monad. It is not the soul which must choose one of the cosmic paths that lead out of the cosmic physical plane but the monad, which also came in along one of these same paths. When we speak of soul purpose we normally are speaking of the underlying purpose that the soul has for taking incarnation in the lower three worlds. Monadic purpose concerns the purpose for incarnation in the whole of the seven planes of the cosmic physical plane. Monadic purpose lies behind soul purpose and it is through this higher purpose that we are able to contact the purpose of the Planetary Logos, as it is his note of purpose to which the monad responded in the first place. This purpose lies behind consciousness altogether and yet can be contacted and registered by consciousness, or the soul. This purpose is revealed to the soul in a similar way that the soul is revealed to the aspiring personality.
At first it is contacted infrequently and is highly ‘coloured’ by both the quality of consciousness and the vehicles of consciousness which are being employed to contact it, if I can use such a convoluted sentence. The purpose expresses itself through cycles of time and space as vast to the soul as the soul cycles appear to the personality. When the soul contacts the purpose for a particular cycle—be it a two-thousand year cycle or a two-hundred-thousand year cycle—it is in effect encountering the perfected archetype that it is the goal of that cycle to produce. Again we must use the analogy of soul-personality contact to get a sense of this.
Contact between the soul and personality (in kama- manasic consciousness) is relatively rare during long cycles of incarnation, becomes more frequent as discipleship is entered, and becomes permanent at the Third Initiation. Of course the soul has always been the underlying reality, and yet this has not been realised by the personality. The duration of time required for the fusion is partly determined by the personality. When it moves towards the soul then the time between contacts increases; when it moves away then time between contacts decreases.
An analogy in the outer world is the phenomenon of ‘red shift’. When a galaxy is moving away from its point of observation the wavelength of light lengthens. When the observer and the galaxy are coming together then the wavelength of light shortens. No real change is taking place in the wavelength of emitted light however.
For radical transformation to take place it is not enough for the personality to approach the soul—it must realise that it IS the soul. This realisation is a reality at soul level but remains unrevealed to personality consciousness.
At the Third Initiation it is realised that there has never been any actual separation between soul and personality, but only this illusion of separation perpetuated by the personality of the planet and of the disciple himself.
Once fusion between soul and personality has become a fact, whether for a moment in meditation or more permanently through initiation, then direct contact between personality and monad becomes possible. The personal identity contacts the monad ‘in soul consciousness’ (or in the light of the soul) first at the Second Initiation and then more and more rapidly until fusion takes place at the Fifth Initiation. Monadic influence effectively speeds up the process of evolution dramatically and hence the possibility of taking the Second, Third and Fourth in a single life. Of course the speed is an illusion—nothing is actually happening except the ‘realisation of essential identity’ which closes an illusory gap between the core identity of the monad and its outpost, the personality.
6. He then carries some world problem, some design which his mind has evolved or his heart desired for the helping of humanity into what is esoterically called “the triple light of the intuition.” This light is formed by the blending of the light of the personal self, focussed in the mind, the light of the soul, focussed in the Angel, and the universal light which the Presence emits; this, when done with facility through concentration and long practice, will produce two results:
In effect the meditator is taking a form—in this case a thoughtform—solarising it and then seeking to transfigure it—ie. have its essential underlying nature revealed to him through relating the form to its monadic archetype. This relationship will result in the apparent acceleration of the thoughtform towards its future destination.
- a. There will suddenly dawn upon the disciple’s waiting mind (which still remains the agent of reception) the answer to his problem, the clue to what is needed to bring relief to humanity, the information desired which, when applied, will unlock some door in the realm of science, psychology or religion. This door, when opened, will bring relief or release to many. As before I have told you, the intuition is never concerned with individual problems or enquiries, as so many self-centred aspirants think. It is purely impersonal and only applicable to humanity in a synthetic sense.
This is all linked to the Fifth Ray integration formula—a key descends into the mind of the scientist in his laboratory. The real scientist is the soul and his laboratory is the causal body. That which is descending is in effect the future. The Agni yogi makes of himself an instrument by way of which some aspect of the relative perfection of the future is revealed to the consciousness of the present. An historian links humanity to its past. An Agni yogi links humanity to its future. That future arrives through him.
- b. The “intruding agent of light” (as the Old Commentary calls these adventuring intuitives) is recognised as one to whom can be entrusted some revelation, some new impartation of truth, some significant expansion from a seed of truth already given to the race. He then sees a vision, hears a voice, registers a message, or—highest form of all—he becomes a channel of power and light to the world, a conscious Embodiment of divinity, or a Custodian of a divine principle. These forms constitute true revelation, imparted or embodied; they are still rare but will increasingly be developed in humanity.
This is a wonderful image—an “intruding agent of light”. Light is the symbol for the soul—an agent of light is a solar being; and yet what is it that this agent of light is intruding upon? Perhaps it is the peaceful silent Will of the monad—or in a planetary sense, the Council Chamber of Shamballa wherein Purpose is contained as in a reservoir held by a ring-pass-not. This ring-pass-not keeps out those who cannot be trusted to know something of the Purpose of Sanat Kumara. It keeps out in effect, the non-solarised consciousness of the Black Lodge. However this ring-pass-not can be pierced by an intruding agent of the White Lodge. In fact it requires the pressure of striving to penetrate it—the kingdom of heaven is taken by force—the force of self, of the initiating soul striving, and not the force of the personal will.
The ‘revelation’ of the underlying archetype through the solarised form can express in a number of ways. It can be revealed through the mind—the recipient formulates and expresses the insight into the mental plane and it thus ‘inspires’ others. It can be revealed through the heart—the recipient is inspired to express the insight in some salvationary endeavour on behalf of the human race. It can also be expressed as an embodiment—here the fiery energy of the monad pervades all the vehicles of the personality and the life of the individual becomes a living embodiment of a higher principle rather than an expression of an aspect of one. We might imagine that as the Seventh Ray increases in potency and as the externalisation process continues we will see much more of this culminating form.
7. The next few stages are called, in preparation for the revelation:
a. The relinquishing of the Higher Way.
b. The return to the Angel, or a refocussing in the soul.
c. A pause or interlude for constructive thinking, under the influence of the Angel.
d. The turning of the mind to the formulation of those forms of thought which must embody the revelation.
e. Then again a pause which is called “the pause preceding presentation.”
In this stage the direct relationship with the energy of Purpose is released and the consciousness returns into the triadal realms and refocuses in the causal body. The three aspects of the triad are also seen reflected in the three levels of operation of the soul within the mental plane. Firstly it focuses there (corresponding to atma), then it contemplates (buddhi) and finally it formulates (manas) by building thoughtforms.
8. The presentation of the revelation or of the imparted truth and its precipitation into the world of illusion comes next. In that world of illusion, it undergoes the “fiery ordeal” wherein “some of the fire within that which is revealed wings its way back to the source from whence it came; some of it serves to destroy the revealer, and some to burn those who recognise the revelation.” This is a phase of Agni Yoga which, as you can see, is only for those who can penetrate beyond the Angel into the place “where fire dwelleth,” and where God, the Presence, functions as a consuming fire and waits for the hour of total revelation. This is a symbolic rendering of a great truth. In the case of the individual initiate, the third initiation, the Transfiguration, marks the consummation of the process. Only glory then is seen: only the voice of the Presence is heard and union with the past, the present and the future is reached.
It should be realised that the ultimate ‘thoughtform’ is the causal body itself—created out of the substance of the solar angel to provide a relatively permanent (to the personality) storehouse for an aspect of monadic Purpose to be carried out in the three worlds.
At the Third Initiation this causal body is reaching its apex of expression. It is a body of fire being constructed out of mental plane matter but originating from the source of fire on the logoic plane—in the same way that the ahamkara principle which reaches full flower on the second subplane of the mental plane has its origin in the unshakeable identity of the monad.
When the causal body is brought into relationship with the monad it begins to burn. This burning needs to be a sustained fire. Some of the fire that is entering the causal field is reflected back to the monad—this energy is too potent to be absorbed by the causal body as it would be too destructive. Some of the fire is absorbed in the causal field and increases its radioactivity upon the plane of abstract mind. This radioactivity is itself the result of the gradual destruction of the causal body—a sustainable destruction. Some of the fire is channelled into the three worlds through formulated expression.
Others are ‘burned’ indirectly through coming in contact with the ‘formulated fire’ or directly via the ‘radiated causal fire’.
9. The succumbing of the revelation to the prevailing illusion, its descent into the world of glamour, and its subsequent disappearance as a revelation and its emergence as a doctrine. But, in the meantime, humanity has been helped and led forward; the intuitives continue to work and the inflow of that which is to be revealed never ceases.
This refers to the outcome of ‘formulated fire’ as it enters the mental, emotional and physical planes of our earthly civilisation. The potency of the realisation is gradually degraded as it comes in contact with forms that are vibrating at a lower frequency. The overall energy must be conserved however, so to the extent that the revelation is degraded the forms which it comes in contact with are upgraded. The same principle holds true for the revelation itself. If Spirit is ‘entering’ our civilisation through the process of revelation then something must also be ‘leaving’. It is the ‘identity’ of the Agni yogi which is leaving, and this at the Fourth Initiation provokes a crisis for the soul as it must decide where its principal ‘home’ is—with the monad or the personality.
On a higher turn of the spiral we might wonder what it is that enters along the cosmic paths as the Sixth Degree initiates leave to ‘locate’ themselves in higher spheres.
This basic technique underlies both primary and secondary revelations. In the case of the first, the time cycle is long; in the second, the time cycle is short. A very good instance of this process is demonstrated by one of the secondary points of revelation in connection with the teaching which emanated from the Hierarchy (the Custodian of secondary revelations, as Shamballa is of primary) fifty years ago and which took the form of The Secret Doctrine. H.P.B. was the “penetrating, sensing, appropriating intuitive.” The revelation she conveyed followed the accustomed routine of all secondary revelation from the Source to the outer plane. There the minds of men, veiled by illusion and clouded by glamour, formulated it into an inelastic doctrine, recognising no further revelation and holding steadily—many of the theosophical groups—that The Secret Doctrine was a final revelation and that naught must be recognised but that book, and naught deemed correct but their interpretations of that book. If they are correct, then evolutionary revelation is ended and the plight of humanity is hard indeed.
One wonders what might be an example of a primary revelation. Perhaps the revelation of atomic energy that took place as a result of the Shamballic impact during the Second World War might be part of a long cycle of revelation of the First Ray monad of the planet.
With regard to the secondary revelations, we are reminded through this whole process that the revelation is really the ‘living fiery Presence’ and not any formulation that has resulted from someone’s contact with this Presence. For any teaching to ‘live’ it must lead those who study it into a direct relationship with that which stands behind and inspires the teaching itself. Any formulation of teaching must become obsolete. It—like the soul—is a middle principle which is designed to bridge and not itself be preserved or ‘mummified’. Perhaps we need to regularly ‘daddify’ our teaching forms—taking them back into the Presence of the Father to have him burn away anything that no longer serves the present group of enquirers, until eventually all that is left is the diamond core of the Presence itself.
In conclusion, the Technique of the Presence is not so much a meditative practice but a way of life—a way of life that leads through the sustained sacrificial destruction of the causal body into a direct relationship with the Father. The Agni yogi is literally calling down fire in the service of humanity. The result of this is his own liberation out of the three worlds, through first the Third and then the Fourth Initiation taken as a by-product of the Fire of God entering humanity and consuming him—or his causal vehicle—in the process.