I have found the Alice A Bailey books very valuable over the years. They were mostly dictated to her by the Master DK (Djwal Khul), and they form a coherent whole of huge scope.
If you are interested in beginning to read these books, I suggest you begin with the "Ponder on This". This compilation contains key passages from each of the 18 books, organised by main keyword. I have chosen extracts featuring four of the main points from this – I find these both simple and deep.
This can be purchased from the Lucis Trust, and is also now also available free online. If you begin to study this book, you may find you are particularly attracted to quotes from one or two of the other books - these may be the best ones for you to read next ! (Two of the books are "Esoteric Healing" and "Esoteric Astrology", but I need to alert you that these are two of the most abstruse and advanced of the series, and very different from our "normal" ideas)
I have chosen some quotes from 4 of the main sections:-
I tell you that the achieving of harmlessness in the positive sense (not in the negative) means the attainment of that step which leads definitely to the Portal of Initiation. When first mentioned, it sounds of small moment, and to bring the whole subject of initiation into such small account that it becomes unimportant. But let him who so thinks practice that positive harmlessness which works out in right thought (because based on intelligent love), right speech (because governed by self-control), and right action (because founded on an understanding of the Law), and he will find that the attempt will call forth all the resources of his being and take much time to achieve. It is not the harmlessness that comes from weakness and sentimental loving disposition, which dislikes trouble because it upsets the settled harmony of life and leads to consequent discomfort. It is not the harmlessness of the little evolved negative impotent man or woman, who has not the power to hurt because possessing so little equipment wherewith damage can be done.
It is the harmlessness that springs from true understanding and control of the personality by the soul, that leads inevitably to spiritual expression in every-day life. It emanates from a capacity to enter into the consciousness and to penetrate into the realisation of one's brother, and when this has been accomplished – all is forgiven and all is lost sight of in the desire to aid and help.
A Treatise on White Magi,c p. 317/8.
I have so emphatically impressed the need of harmlessness upon all of you, for it is the scientific method, par excellence, and esoterically speaking, of cleaning house, and of purifying the centres. Its practice clears the clogged channels and permits the entrance of the higher energies.
Esoteric Healing, p. 40.
A disciple is one who seeks to learn a new rhythm, to enter a new field of experience, and to follow the steps of that advanced humanity who have trodden ahead of him the path, leading from darkness to light, from the unreal to the real. He has tasted the joys of life in the world of illusion and has learnt their powerlessness to satisfy and hold him. Now he is in a state of transition between the new and the old states of being. He is vibrating between the condition of soul awareness and form awareness. He is "seeing double".
A Treatise on White Magic, p. 58/9.
When a man literally walks in the light of his soul, and the clear light of the sun pours through him - revealing the Path - it reveals at the same time the Plan. Simultaneously, however, he becomes aware of the fact that the Plan is very far as yet from consummation. The dark becomes more truly apparent; the chaos and misery and failure of the world groups stand revealed; the filth and dust of the warring forces are noted, and the whole sorrow of the world bears down upon the astounded, yet illuminated aspirant. Can he stand this pressure? Can he become indeed acquainted with grief and yet rejoice forever in the divine consciousness? Has he the ability to face what the light reveals and still go his way with serenity, sure of the ultimate triumph of good? Will he be overwhelmed by the surface evil and forget the heart of love which beats behind all outer seeming? This situation should ever be remembered by the disciple, or he will be shattered by that which he has discovered.
But with the advent of the light, he becomes aware of a new (for him) form of energy. He learns to work in a new field of opportunity. The realm of the mind opens up before him, and he discovers that he can differentiate between the emotional nature and the mental. He discovers also that the mind can be made to assume the position of the controller, and that the sentient forces respond with obedience to mental energies. "The light of reason" brings this about - light that is always present in man, but which only becomes significant and potent when seen and known, either phenomenally or intuitionally.
A Treatise on White Magic, p. 355.
Goodwill is man's first attempt to express the love of God. Its results on earth will be peace. It is so simple and practical that people fail to appreciate its potency or its scientific and dynamic effect. One person sincerely practising goodwill in a family, can completely change its attitudes. Goodwill really practised among groups in any nation, by political and religious parties in any nation, and among the nations of the world, can revolutionise the world.
Problems of Humanity, p. 7
It is absolutely essential that the will-to-good be unfolded by the disciples of the world, so that goodwill can be expressed by the rank and file of mankind. The will-to-good of the world knowers is the magnetic seed of the future. The will-to-good is the Father aspect, whilst goodwill is the Mother aspect, and from the relation of these two the new civilisation, based on sound spiritual (but utterly different) lines, can be founded. I would recommend this thought to your consciousness, for it means that two aspects of spiritual work must be nurtured in the immediate future, for on them the most distant hope of happiness and of world peace depends. The New Group of World Servers must be reached, and the will-to-good developed in them, and the masses simultaneously must be reached with the message of goodwill.
The Rays and Initiations, p. 110
I urge upon each and all. . . the necessity for renewed effort to fit themselves for service by a conscious and deliberate effort to develop the intuition and to achieve illumination. Every human being who reaches the goal of light and wisdom, automatically has a field of influence which extends both up and down, and which reaches both inwards to the source of light, and outwards into the "fields of darkness". When he has thus attained, he will become a conscious centre of life giving force, and will be so without effort. He will stimulate, energise, and vivify to fresh efforts all lives that he contacts, be they his fellow aspirants, or an animal, or a flower. He will act as a transmitter of light in the darkness. He will dispel the glamour around him, and let in the radiance of reality.
When large numbers of sons of men can so act, then the human family will enter upon its destined work of planetary service. Its mission is to act as a bridge between the world of spirit and the world of material forms. All grades of matter meet in man, and all the states of consciousness are possible to him. Mankind can work in all directions, and lift the subhuman kingdoms into heaven, and bring heaven down to earth.
A Treatise on White Magic, p. 538
This Law of Service was expressed for the first time fully by the Christ, two thousand years ago. . . . Today, we have a world which is steadily coming to the realisation that "no man liveth unto himself", and that only as the love, about which so much has been written and spoken, finds its outlet in service, can man begin to measure up to his innate capacity. . . .
Service is usually interpreted as exceedingly desirable, and it is seldom realised how very difficult service essentially is. It involves so much sacrifice of time and of interest, and of one's own ideas, it requires exceedingly hard work, because it necessitates deliberate effort, conscious wisdom, and the ability to work without attachment. These qualities are not easy of attainment by the average aspirant, and yet today the tendency to serve is an attitude which is true of a vast majority of the people of the world. Such has been the success of the evolutionary process.
Esoteric Psychology Vol II, p. 119/20
Looking again at these passages, which I first read almost 40 years ago, I confess to have made a little progress, but there is still a long way to go to REALLY understand these deceptively simple ideas.
If you work with Ponder on This, you will soon find that you like best the quotes from one of the individual books, and perhaps you could read this book next. I will give a brief summary of the main books.
- A Treatise on White Magic is a major work on the path of discipleship
- A Treatise on the Seven Rays is composed of five volumes
- Esoteric Psychology volumes I and II – these are about the relationship to the soul
- Esoteric Astrology – mostly about the triangles formed by energy in the cosmos and body
- Esoteric Healing – a difficult book about energy in the body, not advised for beginners
- The Rays and Initiations – another abstruse book about energy
- A Treatise on Cosmic Fire – A VERY difficult book, a commentary on parts of HPB’s Secret Doctine
- Discipleship in the New Age, volumes I and II – interesting letters to groups of disciples in training
- Problems of Humanity. A very interesting examination from a Masters view of the main human problems
- Letters on Occult Meditation
- Some of the other books were written by Alice A Bailey herself, no by DK, but they are still of interest.
The Lucis Trust has a number of other organisations under their umbrella, including the Triangles movement, World Goodwill, and the Arcane School, which provides a training in discipleship. These can all be contacted via the main Lucis Trust website