This monthly meditation for world service is concerned with energies, primarily the energies of love and wisdom, light and mind, purpose and power, summed up in the famous prayer, The Great Invocation, which is an ongoing meditation in itself. It is not a meditation on the personality theory of the 12 types of astrology (or the 13 types if you now include Ophiuchus!) The purpose of this meditation is to join together once a month under the symbolic constellations — this month Aquarius — for deep contemplation as world service.
Serving others by giving donations of time or money is a common description of service often motivated by self-image and the need for praise. Meditation is something that is done with mind and heart, although it, too, may be done publicly at physical meetings. Serving the world through meditation is a group-conscious endeavor of all world citizens who seek to serve the whole as part of responsible living. The concept of the whole earth known in shape, size and form is not all that old; that humanity is one family is also relatively new. The web of interconnected and interdependent life is only now becoming more evident, along with the effects of human living upon it. This meditation is about serving that whole in which we live as a responsible act of all world citizens, and one that all children should be taught. Most of us see the human kingdom as intermediate between the kingdoms of the natural world and those higher than humanity, the spiritual worlds of higher intelligence and Beingness, but even if you don't recognize higher spiritual worlds, service of the world and the whole through contemplation is a part of most scientists' lives. We who think of the world in holistic terms, with love and creative intelligence are the new group of world servers.
These monthly meditations deal with energies which produce movement and activity inner and outer. Without psychological movement little of lasting value is likely to occur in outer activity. Meditation on the mind as the source of light and the heart as the source of love opens consciousness to subtle, unseen energies and forces deep within the evolutionary flow towards greater integration.
Symbols for Meditation: The Water Carrier
The constellation Aquarius, the Water Carrier, is depicted as a man holding an inverted vase. "The man inverts the vase and out of it come two streams of water, the river of life and the river of love, and those two words, life and love, are the two words that embody the technique of the Aquarian age" (Bailey, The Labours of Hercules, p.187). We serve life through love. This heart identity with all life is our means of union. The keynote of this meditation is "Water of life am I, poured forth for thirsty men. "
The figure of Aquarius, The Water Carrier, is the archetypal image of one who has "the power to pour out love and wisdom upon earth" and the symbol of the Law of Service is also referred to as a jar of water that never runs dry. These images occur in the Bible as the Christ as "water of Life" and the "living water" in an historical and divine embodiment of this unending power and purpose. From Buddhism, the Lord Maitreya — whose name means kindness — is typically shown with a vase, symbolizing a similar idea… "Consecration to the service of the Whole" and the end to self-service at the expense of the whole is the theme of this meditation, and seems to be a perfect fit for our time, with its tragedies of Hurricane Sandy, the Sandy Hook massacre of innocents, and sports heroes who exemplify extreme selfishness. The union of the individual with the whole in an integrated expression is said to be humanity's next great evolutionary objective as part of The Divine Law of Polar Union. (References from A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Vol. II, pp 118-120 and Vol. III, pp. 137, 151)
The Desert of Grief and Time
The school massacre at Sandy Hook and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy both caused a desert of grief, one from human cruelty and the other from nature's chaos resulting from the global warming we have created. We live in the sands of time and place, in fragile temporary life forms of body, city and planet. They are ours to love and care for in our time, but at any moment they can vanish into the desert sands of time leaving us with a sense of despair, betrayal, and injustice. Knowing that the children were shot with the weapons we bought to protect ourselves, and that the severe damage to city and region was also caused by failing to understand the outcomes of our choices, only drives home the necessity for deep meditation on our behaviors. The Sandy Hook promise is to find commonsense solutions for safety from violence, and to make Sandy Hook remembered for the positive change it brought about as a memorial to the children and teachers who died there.
Time eventually erases everything, of course, like it or not, and puts life in a wider perspective. Like Shelley's poem Ozymandias reminds us, in time 'nothing remains of that colossal [work], boundless and bare the lone and level sands stretch far away.' If global warming persists, Manhattan Island and all coastal cities could be inundated and washed away. And, if we cannot control the killing weapons and the killing mind that we have created, no child and no adult is safe from sudden death by homicide or war. As Carl Jung wrote of the subjective and deeply significant images from WWI in his Red Book (p.141), 'my soul leads me to a desert; a barren journey leads me through hot sand, slowly wandering … how eerie is the wasteland...I take my way step by step.' The journey of grief is long, but as Jung proved, it can become, with persistence and a depth of understanding, a gift of insight to others and a change in how we perceive and live our lives.
We live between two polar realities of now and "This Fleeting World." In the words of that famous poem from the Prajna Paramita, "This is how you should think of all this world: A star at dawn; a bubble in a stream; a flash of lightning in a summer cloud; a flickering lamp; a phantom; and a dream." [E-W 342].The only thing we are responsible for is what we do with our time now — what we do in thought, word and deed. This is our response both to the conditions we have created and those beyond mechanistic control. Deep within the human psyche is the yearning to find that which exits beyond time and place. All the religions in the world have tried to describe for people this state that exists beyond impermanence. All the deepest meditations in the world are an attempt to find that experience of the timeless and limitless while we are alive for the briefest span of time, and to bring the reality of one into the reality of the other.
Bonds of Love
The deep grief that comes when a child dies often becomes a lifelong meditation. Love doesn't end when a loved one dies. Continuing bonds of love and the right use of memory can unite a family, community, and culture in healthy, healing ways turning deep grief into positive change for a culture, and an opening to new depths of subjective experience for the individual.
Nine of the mass shootings in recent years were males in their teens or 20s (out of 72 only one woman). One study has linked youth to a failure to attain the hegemonic masculine ideal "that they feel entitled to as males in American culture" (Kennedy-Kollar and Charles). Manhood is about attaining power and in our culture power has come to be associated with violence and weapons. One profile of these youths showed they were 1. obsessed with guns, 2. lacked empathy, 3. had a cruel streak, 4. acted out of anger and vengeance. Their acts were triggered by various losses that amount to loss of hope. They emulated other mass shooters, and sought fame and empowerment through instant gratification. The youth had despair, acted on impulse, and had weapons rapidly available, some in their own homes used against their parents.
In recent surveys, young people have shown lower empathy scores and have a higher likelihood of narcissism. Educators and psychologist alike may have added to this narcissism, Ruth Love writes, by using self-esteem strategies that encourage adolescents to have feelings of entitlement. "As young people feel more entitled they feel less happy and fall short of their potential in all areas of life,' the psychologist writes for the upcoming 11th Conference on Adolescents and Young Adults. Achieving their 15 minutes of fame and a dubious iconic manhood before committing suicide has become a grizzly model of extreme behavior. Based upon past statistics, it is estimated that 20 mass shootings will occur this year. What in our philosophies and worldviews could give rise to this? We are all products of both our conditioning and our choices. Our conditioning contains a great deal of mis-knowledge, whether we are secular or religious. To examine our philosophies and their implications is what free and responsible people do. We can start with examining the core beliefs we raise our children with.
Even Albert Camus the Nobel Laureate and famous Existentialist whose works express the popular secular worldview reminds us, "Even if one does not believe in God, suicide is not legitimate" and continues, "although "The Myth of Sisyphus" poses moral problems, it sums up for me as a lucid invitation to live and to create, in the very midst of the desert" (The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays, p. v). For the secularists who wrestle with the choices of suicide and murder, Camus should stand as an example of creative affluence, not the poverty of utter despair.
Jung also wrote after his profoundly prophetic and disturbing vision of a vast sea of blood from the North Sea to the Alps at the advent of WWI, "May the frightfulness become so great that it can turn men's eyes inward, so that their will no longer seeks the self in others but in themselves" This is the meaning of the sacrifice in the desert of despair. The water of life may be found within. Then, he wrote, "I saw a new God, a child, who subdued daimons in his hand …The God develops through the union of the principles in me. He is their union." (Red Book, p. 204). The way of life finds it path through us; we become the way through by becoming our principles that is our task. If we serve humanity we serve the web of life and humanity's relationship to it, in nature and in higher stages of the evolution of intelligence. Life will find a way. The water of life is poured forth for thirsty humans from within where the principles found can shore up our fragile structures of civilization.
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out in our time to heal the hurt we create by teaching kindness, a quality of both Christ and Maitreya. May our Aquarius meditation of world service pour the energies of love and life on earth, and in our lives and homes, and to our children, and in their education.
Joann S. Bakula (teacher for nearly 30 years)