Now we celebrate the solar Festival of Libra, the sign representing the great Middle Way, the way of the Buddha. But Humanity, the planetary Light Bearer, also stands at its own middle point. As living souls, we are the agents of Hierarchy on earth as well as the protector and redeemer of the sub human kingdoms. We live as humans in the world of form and yet we are innately spiritual beings. We are both, looking in both directions and constantly choosing our Way.
The great soul Gautama Buddha was in every way a human being, a courageous human being who made many choices throughout his career, until finally coming to the point of balance between a life of extreme asceticism and one of rare privilege and wealth. As spiritual aspirants, the balance point we seek is found through the soul; the place pf perfect peace, free from desire; the Middle Way, the narrow razor edged Path. In the soul's journey, Libra marks the middle or transition place where the emphasis shifts from a focus on the affairs of the lower personal self to the concerns of the soul, the group and the Ashram, the radiant inner group that stands. The silent waiting, the pregnant pause of Libra fosters on one hand, contemplation on the principles of balance and equilibrium, of poise and peace, and on the other, reveals the violent swinging back and forth from one state of emotional upheaval to another, from one strong opinion or attitude to another opposite one.
The soul in form travels through its evolutionary journey, gaining in experience through its reflection in the world of appearances, the lower personal self. This blind and handicapped little one inches selfishly and slowly along on the Path, through seemingly endless pain and struggle, joy and heartache, until the illusions and glamours of the physical world are seen in their true perspective and for what they really are; transitory and sensational distractions steering one away from the limitless light and everlasting love of the soul, the true reality. And all along the way, really at every moment, the incarnated self immersed in duality chooses; it exercises the great human gift of free will and decides where to turn its attention; toward the limiting life of the senses, of materialism and form, or toward the eternal life of the soul, the revealer of light and love. In Libra, as the great choice is contemplated, the decision to choose the way of reality or the way of illusion looms large until eventually, the soul reverses itself on the wheel of life and ceases to be a prisoner of the material personal self, a prison it has occupied for untold time. The soul then begins to control the personality and the balance is tipped toward the One Life. It seizes its instrument through a great act of will and "turns on the pedestal of light". Humanity as a whole, the World Disciple, is at the brink of this turning today and this evening we celebrate Libra, symbolic of the moment of stillness prior to the start of this "great turning", this reversal of direction.
Let us pause for a moment to think about this stage of duality. Let us imagine ourselves fully poised and tensely balanced in the middle of two worlds; of dense matter and of the purest spirit. Let us see ourselves as the Planetary Light Bearer, absorbing and receiving the energies of the Plan of light and love and breathing these back out into the world of form, dispelling glamour and illusion for the benefit of all mankind and the sub human lives. Let us say together the mantram:
"Radiance are we and power.
We stand forever with our hands stretched out, linking the heavens and the earth, the inner world of meaning and the subtle world of glamour.
We reach into the light and bring it down to meet the need.
We reach into the silent place and bring from thence the gift of understanding.
Thus with the light we work and turn the darkness into day."
As we look at our world today, we can see the influence of Libra in every department of human living; the extremity of the opposites is astounding. We can see Humanity, the World Disciple, struggling to balance these extremes and responding in various ways to the Libran influence. We are brought to despair to know there are actually one billion people, one sixth of us, without adequate food, water or shelter and yet we see a huge movement to revive the family and community organic farm through the growth of the CSA movement, the slow food movement and the local diet movement. On every continent we see armed conflicts and wars, murder and violence juxtaposed with images of hundreds of thousands of people gathering in just about every country to celebrate, through meditation and prayer, events such as the International Day of Peace. In the last few weeks we have been bombarded with the reality of the corporate greed, corruption and excesses of Wall Street and the horrible reality that many people have lost or are in danger of losing their homes and businesses. And yet we see the sustainable and green business movement growing like mushrooms at every turn. And here we stand, observing these extreme opposites, waiting for something to shift and change, to turn around and heal.
The modern Buddhist teacher and scholar, Joanna Macy, often speaks of the Prophecy of the Shamballa Warriors as told to her by her teacher Choegyal Rinpoche. It speaks of a time when the world is in extreme danger, when so called "barbarians" of east and west have gathered great wealth and built unimaginable weapons of mass destruction and developed technologies that can "lay waste our world". It is at this time, when life seems to be hanging in the balance, that the kingdom of Shamballa begins to emerge. This kingdom is not an ecotourism destination, a place you can find on the map, but an inner kingdom, an interior state of mind and heart existing within the "warriors". These Shamballa warriors are the people who understand without question that all life is interconnected and that all life is sacred. You wouldn't recognize them on the street because they have no badges, no uniforms and no leaders. They walk in the lands of the barbarians, holding no territory of their own and are called on to act with moral and physical courage, to go into the center of the controversy and dismantle the weapons of mass destruction, the systems of chaos and materialism.
How can they do this? What weapons can they use against these seemingly undefeatable enemies? Because they know from the depths of their being the truth of our interrelatedness, they know that the problems of the world do not come from any outside force, from any extra terrestrial or pre-ordained evil entities, but from our own decisions, our own actions and our own relationships. These weapons of mass destruction are "mind-made"; they are the illusions and false structures created by the human mind, and therefore can and must be dismantled by the human mind, a mind free from illusion and glamour, that sees clearly through the light of the soul and carries the right sense of values which honors all Beings.
Another meaning for the name "Shamballa" refers to the place where the Will of God is known, the Peaceful Silent Will that confers the blessing of truth and strength and perfect love. It is the embodiment of the One Life. In our meditation, we strive to align with the Christ, with Hierarchy and with Shamballa, and as we do so, we are together opening ourselves to receive some of this Shamballa energy, the inspiration of the Shamballa warrior. The Shamballa energy is also destructive. It seeks to destroy any impediments to soul expression and to the energies of the divine Plan. It seeks to destroy any structures that attempt to create the illusion of separation or the idea that materialism is a path in and of itself.
Libra, as the point of balance between two activities, the mid point between two opposite poles and two extremities, is the moment of deep contemplation on The Decision. It is "the silence and the stillness of a focused point", the pause or interlude between an inbreath and an outbreath and the critical moment before a new creation, a new Way. We, Humanity, stand now at this moment of stillness and silence, wondering which way the world will go. Will we succumb to climate change and watch our beautiful planet be destroyed by our greed and ennui? Or will we find the political will to sacrifice and work to initiate the needed changes to make our world sustainable and nurturing for all its inhabitants? We stand at the brink, at the transition stage between the outgoing Piscean era and the incoming Age of Aquarius. Are we hopeful or are we fearful?
In the discussion of Libra in the book "Esoteric Astrology" by Alice Bailey, there is the following fascinating comment: "In this transition period through which the world is now passing and in this interlude between two activities - that of the Piscean Age which is passing and that of Aquarius which is coming in - Libra will eventually rule, and (we) will see the influence of Libra steadily coming into pronounced control and into a position of power in the planetary horoscope. There is, therefore, no need for real anxiety." (writer's underlining)
Many modern spiritual teachers are referring to the present time as the time of the Great Unraveling and but equally as the time of the Great Turning. We can easily see all the signs of the Great Unraveling. On the other hand, writer David Korten says in his book entitled The Great Turning, "The work of the Great Turning is to birth a new era that makes the choice for life, gives expression to the higher potential of our nature and restores power to people, families and communities." Equally, Paul Ray in his epic book, The Cultural Creatives writes, "50 million people - have made a comprehensive shift in their worldview, values, and way of life - their culture in short. These creative, optimistic millions are at the leading edge of several kinds of cultural change, deeply affecting not only their own lives but our larger society as well." There's even a movie coming out soon called, The Shift, whose subtitle says, "A Movie being Made by a Movement". You can sign up to be part of the making of the movie at www.theshiftmovie.com . Paul Hawken, in his inspired book Blessed Unrest, discusses the phenomenon of this massive global shift in consciousness with detailed perception and there are many more writers and speakers expressing this message of hope in a new way forward for humanity.
The Shamballa Warriors are all around us! The numbers of Cultural Creatives is growing and the New Group of World Servers are everywhere. Whatever name we choose to use, we can find ourselves working to promote the inclusive soul values of loving understanding in every field of human activity. Take a moment and look around the room….. They are us, we are here. We are the forerunners of the Christ and we are the force and energy powering the Great Turning. Each one of us has a part, none are exempt. We are the ones we have been waiting for and the numbers of the Shamballa Warriors, our numbers, are vast. In this there is great reason for hope and as the Tibetan teacher says, "…no need for real anxiety."
The word of the soul in Libra and the seed thought we will be working with shortly in meditation is "I choose the way which leads between the two great lines of force." We choose life, we choose love and we choose to go forward courageously, armed with the straight knowledge and intuitive perception Libra confers, knowing we can see clearly if we look through the light of the soul. And what we see is that the heart of Humanity is sound and the One Life pours forth to all.