Attributes of the disciple  -- Serenity
by Aart Jurriaanse

The two concepts, serenity and peace, should not be confused. Peace
is a condition of temporary nature and refers to the world of feeling,
which is susceptible to disturbance. Wherever there is progress, on
whatever terrain, it is inevitable that every forward step will be marked
by changed conditions and consequently by disturbances. Evolution
must unavoidably lead to points of crisis, to a breaking down of
previously existing conditions, and to a substitution or reconstruction of
the new. All this must result in disturbed conditions and will not be
characterized by peace, but the disciple must learn to experience all
such changes with perfect serenity.

To develop a state of serenity, the disciple must first of all obtain
control over his astral body, because serenity is that deep calm, devoid
of emotional disturbance, by which the disciple whose mind is 'held
steady in the light' is distinguished. His physical life may be marked by
violent activities, and all his plans might be upset by unforeseen
circumstances, but none of this should disturb the serenity of the
disciple who "stands firm, poised in soul consciousness".

Serenity is often coupled with joy, which is a clear indication that the
soul is in charge of such a life.

The main objective of spiritual training is to produce disciples with an
increased capacity to serve, thereby building bridges which provide the
Masters with readier access to humanity, thus furnishing instruments
which can be used for selfless service.

Selflessness is to be dedicated to the service of the fellow man; it
denotes that loving understanding of the disciple who identifies himself
with others rather than with his own interests.

The disciple must therefore learn to serve with total self-abnegation.
He must endeavour to reach the stage of utter self-forgetfulness; to
forget the past and all it brought of pain and joy; he should forget the
personal self with all its material and emotional claims, and simply
seek to live a life of joyous and balanced service. He must learn to
serve with no thought of the self, giving strength and love without
self reference in either heart or mind, merely serving as the soul - "possessing nothing and asking nothing for the separated self";
becoming simply a selfless channel for Love and Light.

One of the essential requirements of the disciple as he advances along
the Path is to cultivate the capacity to walk alone, and for this he will
need courage. Unavoidably and consistently he will run counter to the
opinions of those who surround him -- his relations, friends and
associates, his religious contacts, and public opinion in general. It will
often take courage, but he will have to learn to do the right thing as he
may see it, according to his honest convictions, no matter whether it
clashes with the opinions of those who are dear to him, or with that of
accepted world authorities. He must learn to arrive at his own
conclusions based on spiritual communion and the illumination from
his own soul as provided by study and meditation.

This is where so many fail -- they do not have the courage to follow in
detail the dictates of the Inner Voice, and they lack the courage to
speak out and say those things which the soul urges them to express.
The only way for the dedicated disciple is to take himself as he is at
any time, under the circumstances that may be ruling, and the
equipment at his disposal, and then to subordinate himself, his affairs
and his time to the needs of the hour, and to serve according to the
behests of his soul.

If the disciple is to attain his objective he will require unrelenting and
patient perseverance "that recks not of time nor hindrance". It is this
capacity of sustained effort which often lifts the unobtrusive worker
above his more brilliant co-disciple, who might attract more public
notice, but who does not have the ability to plod systematically along
the indicated way.

Always remember that failure never prevents success, and that it is by
steady and determined persistence that difficulties will be surmounted
and the soul will be strengthened. The secret of success lies in
impersonal and undaunted perseverance to accomplish the task which
has been set.

The disciple's fortitude is above all determined by his courage and
perseverance -- his power to endure, to hold out unwaveringly, to stand
steady, and then to go forward undeterred towards the achievement of
his objective.

In the life of all disciples there must unfailingly come those cyclic
periods of darkness when the light of his beacon is temporarily
dimmed, and when nothing remains but to endure uncomplainingly, and
to persevere faithfully with his work, no matter what his inclinations or
how acute his inner turmoil. By following this procedure, and provided
his efforts are supported by loving solicitude towards his fellow men,
all his difficulties will eventually be overcome, and nothing will be able
to stop him.

Sharing and giving

All disciples should learn to give. The aspirant too often still lays the
emphasis on what he may expect to get by following the path of
spiritual development, instead of putting the accent on the opportunities
for serving which will open up to him by sharing and giving all that he

One of the first signs of the soul's awakening is the reversal of man's
selfish attitudes. This is expressed by an increased sense of
responsibility towards others, and in some respects he assumes the
position as his brother's keeper, because he becomes aware that his
own progress, contentment, peace of mind and even prosperity, are
closely linked with that of his brother. This consciousness of coherence
does not remain limited to the individual, but is increasingly being
demonstrated in groups, organizations and even nations, where various
movements are emerging with the sole objective of promoting or
uplifting the welfare of man. There is also a growing recognition in the
consciousness of the individual, the group and even of nations, of the
brotherhood of man, and that they should give and share what they
have, instead of selfishly grasping and holding everything for their own

There is no greater gift than to be guided by a pure unselfish and loving
spirit with the capacity and urge to give and share selflessly all that life
has lavishly put at man's disposal. 'To those who give all, all is given'.
The uninitiated cannot imagine the joys he is forgoing by not sharing
his all with others.

The greatest offerings that the disciple can share and give are,
however, not in the first instance those of a material nature. No, of far
more value are the qualities of a loving heart, of loyalty and friendship,
of compassion and understanding, and finally the capacity of serving
mankind with a mind enriched by study, service and spiritual contact --
therefore spiritual sharing.

Aart Jurriaanse, wrote a number of compilations from the books of Alice A. Bailey. Among these are: Of Life and other worlds; Prophecies; Ponder on this; Serving Humanity; The Soul; The Quality of Life; and he is also the author of Bridges which is a Commentary on these teachings.   

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"The future will see right relationships, true communion, a sharing of all things  (wine, the blood, the life and bread, economic satisfaction) and goodwill; we have  also a picture of the future of humanity when all nations are united in complete  understanding and the diversity of languages - symbolic of differing traditions,  cultures, civilizations and points of view - will provide no barrier to right  human relations..." 
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