A discussion of glamour and it's detrimental effects in "New Age", esoteric and occult groups.
In New Age circles there is a great deal of talk about the subject of glamour. New Age groups, the esoteric and occult groups, fondly imagine, of course, that they are without glamour. They tend to see themselves as the most advanced groups in the world, above and beyond the glamours which beset ordinary humanity, and as particularly fitted to guide the rest of us into the same, blessed, glamour-free state in which they happily reside. This is one of the biggest glamours of these groups. The Tibetan Master DK, who gave the Alice Bailey teachings to the world, has written that the esoteric and occult groups are the most glamoured of all the groups. And, I must say, that is exactly my experience.
What is glamour? When we are asked what glamour is we can more easily answer, what is not glamour? There seems to be nothing which enters our mind, comes out of our mouths or concerns us in any way at all, which is not saturated with glamour. Glamour is illusion on the astral or emotional plane. There are three levels of illusion, all pertaining to the personality. Illusion on the physical plane we call maya. On the astral plane we call it glamour. When it is on the mental plane, we call it illusion. The vast majority of us live constantly in a state of illusion, the result of not seeing reality as it is. Eventually, we come to an understanding that this physical plane world, our astral and emotional life and even our mental ideas are nothing more than illusions of one kind or another. The real world, which we can only know through the development of soul consciousness, is something which we have to reach and experience through the practice of meditation and service. Through meditation we gradually form a contact and eventually an alignment between our personality self and our true Self, our soul. When this is established the soul can throw its light on to this illusory life, physical, emotional and mental, in which we have up till then lived. That is what evolution is about. We gradually evolve out of the darkness of our illusions, physical, astral and mental, into the light of the soul, the true reality.
Before this process of change takes place we do not see the harm that maya, glamour and illusion do to us and the world. When we are in a state of glamour, of illusion, we are quite content because we do not know anything else. Our glamours, our illusions, are very comfortable for a long time. We have illusions, glamours, because they are comfortable. They help to bolster our ego, or denigrate our ego, depending on what we wish to do.
Many will have heard of the Seven Rays, energies from Cosmos, which control our lives. These ray energies have very definite and, in many cases, quite different qualities. The first ray of will or power or purpose, for example, has strength, perseverence and breadth of viewpoint. The second ray of love and wisdom has the qualities of love, of empathy, the ability to see the other person’s point of view. Therefore it brings understanding, inclusiveness, of sensing inwardly the reality of unity, which is the essential nature of the human race.
All of us, as you probably know, are ‘on’ particular rays. Our soul is governed by a particular ray; our personality, our mental body, our astral body and our physical body are all governed by particular rays. Therefore, we have (or may have potentially) the qualities of these rays. The differences in our personality, in the effect which we have on each other, is to do with the differences in the quality of the rays on which we find ourselves. This also accounts for the differences between nations. The differences in the way the Dutch, for instance, govern their life and, let’s say, the Americans, Russians or the Chinese, are the differences in the rays of those countries. Nations whose rays are the same or similar tend to understand each other and become friends and probably trading partners. Nations whose rays are very different have very different approaches to politics, economics, international affairs and so on. If we were perfect enough always to demonstrate purely the qualities of our ray structure, we would have no maya, no glamour, no illusion. Unfortunately we are not. We are all of us rather unevolved and so demonstrate these ray qualities in their obverse effect; not the virtues but the vices of the rays. All of us have the vices of our rays, without any doubt at all. And those who are in the process of trying to find out their ray structures are best instructed to do so through the recognition of the vices of their rays.You may have some of the virtues; you will certainly have the vices. Not because you are any worse than anybody else, but because you are human. Humanity lives under a great cloud, a great pall of murky darkness, which surrounds us even if we don’t see it. It interpenetrates all our being; it is called glamour. Glamour is the result of not seeing reality as it is. As groups form and work together they demonstrate, necessarily, their ray qualities: some of the virtues and certainly most of the glamours of those rays.
There are seven rays and seven times a multitude of glamours. Rather than going into individual ray structures and individual glamours and how to handle them, I would like to talk a little bit about how these glamours affect the interaction of individuals in a group formation. A group comes together under karmic impulse, ashramic necessity and soul purpose. These are the three factors which bring an esoteric group, for example, into existence. If this is the case let us assume therefore that we are talking about a serious group with a serious purpose in coming together and not on some kind of whim. This being so, it will be very important how that group actually works; each member in relation to each other member. The group dynamics become very important; they matter. If a group is to function properly, each member will have to give of his or her best. In New Age and esoteric groups there is no lack of desire to do one’s best. These groups are saturated with idealism. There is no lack of idealism today. How is it that we have such a rotten world then? Because the idealism never results in any kind of action. It remains a vision, an ideal.
This world is filled with great idealistic notions of bringing peace, joy, the end of suffering to the world. Yet every day we have suffering, we have war and starvation in the world. So what about the idealism? It is glamour. It is unreal. New Age groups probably more than anybody else are saturated with this unreal idealism. There are registers, thousands of names long, of groups with wonderful names: "The Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood of World Servers in the Light", or: "The Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Creators of the New World", etc. They are all ‘Universal’, they are all about ‘transformation’, they are all full of ‘Light’ — and a lot of hot air. They come together regularly and talk about transforming the world and creating conditions of love and light throughout the world. You do that, they believe, by talking about love and light, by recognizing that the most important things in the world are love and light, that if only enough people in the world knew that the things that really matter are love and light we would have a wonderful world. There are thousands of such New Age groups all over the world. And of course they are not wrong. The world does need love and light. But they don’t do anything about it. They don’t address the problems of creating the conditions in the world in which love and light can come into manifestation. This, I think, is the major New Age glamour.
There is a particular glamour of a particular ray, which for the moment will be nameless, which assumes that if you can name a thing, you have it in your pocket. Let’s name the most blessed state for humanity: peace, love, brotherhood, wholeness, unity. As soon as you can see it or name it, you have it. All the world needs is to see that it needs peace, love, freedom, unity, etc. This glamour imagines that if you have the vision of a thing you have the thing itself. That is the major New Age glamour, I believe. It is, of course, total self-deception, a purely astral idea.
The vision is seen on the astral plane, imagined as a vision of love and light and peace, and just having the ability to envision that is deeply satisfying. You don’t have to do anything more. That is glamour. Glamour is taking the unreal for the real; the vision for the reality. Of course you have to have the vision. If you don’t have the vision, you can’t create the reality. But you have to make the vision real on the physical plane. Otherwise it is glamour.
People imagine that they have come into this world with a great mission; a great role. Not an ordinary mission, an ordinary role, like growing up and having a family and doing your best in the world. But a great mission, a great responsibility. They have not yet done anything about it, but they will. That is a typical New Age glamour. The New Age groups are full of individuals of that kind. Nice, sweet, full of idealism and absolutely, totally unpractical. Of course there is nobody like that in this audience. As soon as you contact the soul you want to serve. Today, millions of people, through meditation, are contacting their souls and desire seriously to serve. They come into a group and say: "Is there something useful I can do?" They are told: "Yes, we have a mailing going out tomorrow. All these envelopes need to have a name and address and a stamp", and so on. "Well, actually, I don’t happen to have so much time tonight. Perhaps some other time." Or they say: "Yes, I could do that, but I have a very, very good way of talking to people and I feel I can be more useful in talking about the work to people and spreading the message". Or: "I have done esoteric work, and I have been in groups for so long. Well, you begin by licking stamps and addressing envelopes, but it is a waste of my qualities, my experience, my point in evolution, to be used in such work". How many people can put their hand on their heart and say that they have never felt or thought in this way.
One of the most difficult things in a working group, a group really working seriously on the outer and the inner plane, is to get people to accept any level of work, any level of job. Everybody wants to do what they think they are good at. Whether they are good at it or not (usually they are not), what they want is to do something that they enjoy, not something that is boring, run of the mill. All of that is glamour. The idea that one job is more important than another in a group activity is glamour. The idea that anybody is better fitted than another person to do more important work, or too important to do a lesser work, is glamour. One of the major glamours in group activity is to take on jobs and then not to do them. People don’t recognize these as glamours. But they are.
It is very difficult for people to work in a group with impersonality. And yet that is precisely what is needed for correct group activity. I wonder how many people really, honestly, with hand on heart, can say that they do not enter a group of this kind, for instance, without a motive of personal gain. I don’t mean of money, but a personal gain in some way or another. I wonder how many people can say that they enter this work out of a pure, simple desire to serve the world to the best of their ability. That there is no personal ambition to be in a position of some importance, some desire for recognition for doing certain work. A desire for a situation in which they can advance themselves, become more powerful, more knowledgeable, more important. I wonder how many people can say in all honesty that there is none of that in their approach to service. I think that, if we are honest, we have to admit that in all groups perhaps the majority of people have approached the work for these personal reasons. That is glamour. And that is one of the major hindrances to real advance, personally and in a group relationship. To advance individually and in group formation there has to be complete impersonality in relation to each other and to the work. Sooner or later that impersonality has to develop.
The problem with glamour is that when we are in the glamour we don’t see it as glamour. That is why we like the glamours, they are comfortable, they keep us from seeing reality as it is. So they are protective devices. As soon as the light of the soul through the more focused mind begins to recognize the glamours and show them for what they are, a very uncomfortable situation develops. A glamour which is seen and recognized, but still lived within, is a very uncomfortable thing. It can only be overcome by not giving it any energy; by withdrawing the attention from it.
Our glamours are maintained by the effect of the basic law of occultism, that energy follows thought. Wherever we put our thought we put our energy. If our thought is all directed to ourselves, then all our energy is directed to ourselves. And if all our energy is directed to ourselves, there is no interplay with the other, that which is outside ourselves. Then we feel unloved, alienated; we feel isolated, miserable, because all our attention is directed to ourselves. All of that is glamour. It is the illusion that we are separate. If we could only recognize, and live, the fact that there is no separation, there would be no glamour. If we have a pain in the physical body and we direct our attention to it all the time, we will continue having the pain and we will make the pain worse. We will create inflammation and make the whole condition worse. If we direct our attention to the world, to the needs of the world, our energy will flow from us out into the world. In meeting the needs of the world we forget about ourselves. And when we forget about ourselves, the glamours go, because we have taken our attention, and therefore our energy, away from them. So, too, goes our misery, our pain, our isolation. The great secret in transformation is the re-direction of thought. Away from ourselves to the needs of the world.
The more we are engaged in serving the needs of the world the healthier and the happier and the more serene we become. The fears, the jealousies, the unhappiness fade away from lack of energy. These glamours are only held in place by the energy with which we feed them. The first thing is to recognize them, to look at them. That is all; do nothing about them. Do not judge them or condemn them, do not try to change them, but do not try to repress them, do not try too hard ‘to be better’. Every undue effort you make to overcome a failing, a glamour or whatever, simply makes the condition worse. The way to deal with a glamour is first of all to recognize it. Just look at it and do nothing about it. Do not identify with it. Just withdraw your attention from it and it will die of starvation. The major thing is the recognition and not identifying. Both in a personal sense and in a group relationship.
One of the most destructive forces at work in group relationship is competition. In most groups you will find a number of people competing with each other. Competing for influence, for power, for recognition. If there are offices, then for offices. This is highly destructive of group unity and of any correct group work. That is probably the first glamour that should be recognized and has to go for the correct working of any group. Competition is deadly; it is always destructive.
Are there no good glamours? No worthwhile glamours? Are there no good illusions? No. There are no good illusions and no good glamours. Some are more destructive than others, that is all. The worst glamours are other people’s glamours! Our own glamours we can put up with. Of course, the glamours of people with the same rays as ourselves are unbearable. It is amazing how quickly we recognize other people’s glamours when they are the same as our own. A key to knowing what your worst glamours are, your major glamours, is perhaps to recognize what you hate most in other people. That is an eye-opener.
The Master DK wrote about a most unusual glamour which He had for many years and which kept him back for years. There is a lot of it about. It is a glamour which saturates the New Age and esoteric groups. It is called: "devotion". The Master DK had an intense devotional attitude to His Master, the Master KH. He was absolutely devoted to that Master and was certain that that at least was His major virtue. But that devotion held him back for years, It was not His greatest quality; it was His chief fault. Devotion can be a glamour. Anything can be a glamour, if it is ‘over the top’. Devotion can be the chain which keeps us from initiation. At the same time, lack of devotion can be the chain. It works both ways.
What is needed is total impersonality. Not devotion or lack of devotion. Not idealism or lack of idealism. But a correct balance of recognition of the needs of the world and using whatever faculties we have, serving those needs. Otherwise our devotion, our idealism, and so on, are chains. It is the easiest thing in the world to be a devotee. But it is of no value to the world and may be a hindrance to ourselves. There is no Guru in the world, high or low, who needs our devotion, not one. No one on earth needs our devotion except the old ladies who need help across the road. Or the starving millions who are right this moment dying in Africa and Asia. The needy of the world need our devotion, no one else. The pain, the suffering, the anguish, the terror, the fear of the world, that needs our devotion. All the rest is glamour.
Q. Is it possible to take stress from other people or is this glamour?
A. It is possible, because stress is infectious. It is precisely one of the problems with glamour that some are very infectious indeed. The glamours of anger and violence are infectious, and above all the glamour of fear is extremely infectious. All you have to do is to create a fearful idea, about catastrophe or disaster, and that fear will spread as a rumour throughout a continent. America, for instance, is a great ‘rumour land’. The Master Morya writes about one of the major glamours, that of anger, of irritation, which He calls ‘imperil’. Anger imperils the world; it enfolds the world in a fog which surrounds humanity and is released in all kinds of violent acts. We create it all the time. One of the major tasks of the Christ in this new age is to free humanity from glamour, above all the glamour of materialism and the illusion of separation.
Q. If I feel someone else’s fear, is that because I have that fear in myself?
A. Absolutely. If it were not present in you you would not feel it. You might recognize it and see it, but you would not feel it yourself. One of the major disservices given to the world by so-called ‘Masters’ (communicators ‘channelling’ through astral sensitives, either trance mediums or not) is that from them is pouring into the world the threat of destruction and catastrophe. These are the ones I call ‘the prophets of doom’. Humanity has enough fear, without these induced fears. They are playing on the insecurity of humanity. People have those fears, so it simply strengthens them. I am amazed that people are so glad to receive these fearful warnings. Happy to pay any amount of money, to buy any number of books, if they have these forecasts of doom and catastrophe in them. One of the dangers is that, if people hold on to a thought-form for long enough and make it powerful enough, they can precipitate the doom, the catastrophe. We do it to ourselves all the time. We precipitate our fears, our anger, our neuroses. We are projecting them as thought-forms. In doing so, we create our own lives with pain and suffering, much of it unnecessary.
Q. Why does glamour exist at all?
A. Because we are spirit immersed in matter, which is so inert that the spirit cannot manifest purely, correctly, at this level. We are perfect spirit, complete, perfect Gods, as any ‘New Age’ group member will tell you. That being the case, they will say, there is no evil in the world; there is nothing to worry about. Only a few millions starving in the world, but that is not evil. There’s nothing we need to do about that, because we are all perfect. The starving millions are perfect, too. If only they would realize that, they wouldn’t starve. People actually believe that.
Glamours result from our inability to think. Responding largely to events of life with our astral/emotional body we cannot see the reality which exists outside this fog. We are in incarnation in order gradually to change this equipment, evolve it, until we have bodies which correctly demonstrate the nature of the soul, which is will, love and light.
Q. Is glamour recognized by life experience, by meditation or both?
A. We are in the midst of glamour until we have taken the first initiation and are approaching the second. Around the point 1.3–1.5 the soul energy becomes more and more potent and the light of the soul strengthens the mental body. This will throw a new light on every situation, which reveals the glamour. Up until then, when one is completely in it, one doesn’t even see it. But then, even when we have never heard about glamour, we will realize the inconsistencies, see the glamours in our make up. We can’t do anything about them at first, they are just painful. We experience it as the not-self. As not us, and yet they are us. Our fears are us; our anguishes, our jealousies, the timidities, all of these are glamours. As long as we identify ourselves with the glamour, we are as good as being that glamour. The more we can identify with ourself as a soul, the less we will identify with a glamour. Through meditation, the soul pours out its energy and, through the mind, reveals the unreality, the glamour. The mind looks at this glamour and asks: "Is that me?" That fear, that ambition, that pomposity, is that me? Well, of course not. The nature of humanity is joy. Everything, that inhibits that joy is a glamour. If we condemn the glamour, we are giving it energy and only strengthen it. Whatever we inhibit, we will strengthen. On the other hand, if we indulge in it, we will strengthen it too. So there is only one thing left and that is just to look at it. Look at it without condemning, without indulging in it. Just look at it, recognize it, and gradually you will withdraw from it the energy which keeps it going. The second initiation can only be taken when we have really demonstrated our control over the astral elemental which creates the glamour.