The plane of mind referred to in the seed thought is not lower mind as 'slayer of the real' but manas, the "animating fire of intelligence" (CF 355), the principle of individualization, that developmental principle in which self-realization expands to realization of the plane of mind, the world of ideas, the whole and the holon. It is the light-bringer, in the form of Son of Mind or fiery Mind, the soul as creative intelligence and consciousness. It plants in us the burning desire to know, as it were. The three primary meditations of the year may be approached through various perspectives, including 1) a ritual of meditation based upon a natural and planetary view; 2) a religious perspective; and 3) from the point of view of energies and forces.
This planetary meditation ritual is designed to be inclusive of all intelligent people of goodwill. We use the new holistic point of view, visualizing the sun-earth-moon alignment (the full moon) as our new planetary perspective. This meditation is a methodology, a much needed new age planetary ritual appealing to all thinking people who love the world to join together once a month to give an hour to meditation, prayer and thought for the whole earth, the one human family and its relationship to the other kingdoms living here, seen and unseen, known and unknown. Ours is a plea to join in awakening consciousness of the whole earth, Gaia, and to take responsibility for what affects it, for what policies we approve, for what we manufacture, the products and by-products, and what care we take. We recognize the fact of the one whole earth, the one human family, and the rights and responsibilities of the individual. When we consider the spiritual year graphically, as a great mandala or sand painting of time, it is drawn as a circle divided into four parts or seasons, like a circle with an X in it. We are at the uppermost and highest spiritual quarter of the year, April, May and June. As Al Gore pointed out in An Inconvenient Truth, the earth essentially takes one breath a year, and we meditators also recognize the importance of the breath, and we too view the yearly cycle in terms of one breath. When the Northern Hemisphere, the largest land mass with the most trees, is tilting toward the sun, the vegetable kingdom is stimulated to grow leaves, producing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide, until fall when the cycle reverses. The vegetable kingdom is our symbiotic partner, without whom life as we know it would end. We, too, breath with the earth in our yearly cycle, tilted to the north as we are on our mostly northern continents, where most of the trees, people, civilizations, and religions are located. This high interlude of 3 planetary meditations as world service is a time for a fresh breath, a new cycle of growth free from last season's leaves of thought, and open to a new reach.
The three first and primary meditations of Aries, Taurus and Gemini, may also be viewed from the religious perspective. There are many holidays sacred to Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and other religions celebrated during this higher spiritual interlude. The great Western season of Hoy Week, Passover and Easter celebrates events in the life of Jesus Christ and his culture. Christians celebrate Christ as undying spirit and God-man, conqueror of death and bringer of life everlasting. From the belief in the resurrection of bones to the discovery of DNA, we've come a long way in interpreting just how little is needed even for humans to recreate a life form. Imagine how God-consciousness can resurrect each thought, word and deed, as well as atoms and molecules. Fascinating archeological finds in Jerusalem recently highlighted this area, bringing an intelligent updating and new interpretation of the more primitive beliefs to the forefront. The great Eastern event of Wesak celebrates the Buddha's conquering of ignorance and samsara by achieving enlightenment, another expression of life everlasting, this time earned not by belief in God transcendent but earned through self-knowledge of God-immanent. The third meditation is a celebration of humanity itself, unified through goodwill, celebrating the heroes who show us the lighted way to liberation, redemption and freedom. Three meditations making one dynamic effort to bridge kingdoms, higher and lower, East and West, inner and outer, into a functioning unity reflecting reality as the synthesis of the worlds.
The Tibetan for whom Alice Bailey wrote predicted that rituals such as these would become the basis of a new type of world religion some time in the future. For us during this time of religious turmoil, fundamentalism and increasing fanaticism, thinking about still another new religion is distasteful, although the thought of a Christ or Buddha figure coming to help us out with wise leadership might not be! In the meantime, the much needed reinterpretation and reviewing of religious authority, dogma, interpretations of scripture, cultural morals and tribal ethics is a very healthy house cleaning. We should take joy in this and in taking another closer look at body, mind and soul with open eyes, unprejudiced by views from the past, religious or scientific. What do we have to loose but illusions, misinterpretations, stupid interpretations, falsehoods and half-truths? Which of our beliefs from either side lead to prejudices, double standards, cultural mores and moral judgments, hypocrisy, denial of common sense, or human dignity? If we base our beliefs or theories on books alone, then are we not guilty of biblio-idolatry, as Huston Smith calls it? How many different ways of interpreting the words and theories of the past in deeper ways can we discover? Is the rethinking and reviewing of our institutions, religious, political, economic, scientific, and environmental how we rebuild the house of humanity's living along more sustainable lines for the global age? Housecleaning is best done by those who love the house, not those who want to destroy someone else's house. Could it not be that this is the energy of purification applied to institutions, and that this is how the Shamballa force is manifesting now and in the foreseeable future, and not in the more childish application to personal and cultural morals? "The Energy of Purification....is essentially the power which substitutes good for evil. Human thinking has debased this concept so that purification is,,,.focussed downwards into matter and not outwards and upwards into light" (RI 84). This energy is innate in mind as well as body and cleaning up yesterday's misconceptions (and downright lies) in politics, religion, economics, science and environment is catching on fire all over the globe.
The three meditations of spring may also be approached from the perspective of energies and forces. The force of restoration is said to condition the Festival in April, enlightenment in May, and reconstruction in June. Restoration is said to affect the masses of people everywhere restoring the condition of psychological health, renewing hope and promise, forgetting the battle scars of the past. And the topic of public mental health is much on people's minds today as the climate of fear, terror and torture lead some to advocate lowering ethical and social standards, or giving away civil liberties. A major forthcoming book, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, by psychologist Philip Zimbardo, past president of the American Psychological Association, examines just this topic. He challenges the charge of a 'few rotten apples spoil the whole barrel,' with a 'barrel that spoils the apples;' that is, social forces that have become a nefarious influence corrupting individuals. In this process, the power of the situation is greater than the inhibitions of the individual against prohibitions, causing conventions to be broken; then people inflict pain on others when told to do so, such as at Abu Ghraib, to name only the most recent example. People are incrementally desensitized and dehumanized by giving them roles that exploit their tendency toward cruelty, and even sadism. Zimbardo suggests a 10-step program (a "starter kit") for turning this around, by incrementally building up resilience to social forces that encourage insensitivity to others. He advocates gradually enhancing goodness and our potential for heroism, rather than our potential for evil. Both potentials exist within us; social forces can evoke good or evil. The subversion of good character by selfishness and fear, like addiction, requires an act of turning around, of coming clean and becoming honest, of refusing to lie to others or to ourselves, and accepting responsibility for the injuries we have done to others. He concludes that it's the 'banality of evil'--the enlisting of normal decent folks against all their instincts--that poses the real threat to society. He suggests that we can restore instead the model of heroism by resisting social and situational forces that lead to aggressively abusive and aberrant behaviors. His last chapter is entitled, "Resisting Situational Influences and Celebrating Heroism." One reviewer sums up his view of Zimbardo's latest book: "In place of the medical model of evil, emphasizing individual treatment and cure (or more commonly punishment), his book offers a public health model for understanding the potential to do evil" (Wray Herbert, "The Heart of the Matter, Examining the forces that spawn monstrous behavior", Psychotherapy Networker, March/April 2007, pp. 13-14). Another psychologically (and physically) healthy influence anticipating the seasonal Forces of Restoration is the Season for Nonviolence, co-founded by Arun Gandhi, extending from the memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, from January 30 to April 4, naturally leading into the season of Easter every year. In relation to world servers and spiritually dedicated people everywhere the Tibetan writes that "As their psychological 'morale' stiffens and their will-to-live and will-to-good is strengthened, an immediate effect will be felt on a larger scale....More and more people are beginning to be forward-looking and to hope with greater conviction and courage for a better world set-up" (EXH 459).
The Arcane School theme for this year's work highlights the factual nature of the kingdom of God, presented in rational ways, with interpretations that intelligent people can accept. The Tibetan advised meditators to consider deeply what Christ may have meant by 'God's kingdom,' to say the Lord's Prayer, and to ponder often on its words. The Easter meditation is a perfect time to do this. The Gospel of Thomas found at Nag Hammadi, and often called the fifth Gospel, gives us a fuller view of what He meant. "The kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it," and also "the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty" (Thomas, 113 & 3). This passage from the gnostic Gospel is close to Luke 17:21 "for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" in the King James Edition and "among you" in the St. Joseph's Edition. Here Christ is making the point that knowing yourself as the soul, the inner DNA of your deep heritage, is the greatest of riches. This identity is within each one of us but we don't know it. Poverty is not knowing who your "living father" is from the inside. This is the merging of God transcendent with God immanent. We know that Buddhists don't use the word God at all, but use instead the word reality; some use the word truth, or what is. Others think of God's Kingdom as the place where all the distortions of love, truth, justice and intelligence are cleared up and life is seen as it actually is. All of these glimpses into a higher order of life help us to open our minds to newer and deeper interpretations of the words spoken by Jesus Christ and written down by disciples so long ago, and which remain eternally true, if intelligently interpreted.
The Tibetan and Alice Bailey's contribution to understanding what Christ may have meant is profound, developing the idea expressed in the Gospel of Thomas, by anchoring it in every human being's own mind, heart and will, through the Great Invocation. This direct line to the soul through deeper knowing, loving and willing leads to world service and the shared values of the group of world servers. "Christ taught …us to seek that Kingdom first and let all things be of secondary importance for its sake. That Kingdom has ever been with us, composed of all those who down the ages, have sought spiritual goals, liberated themselves from the limitations of the physical body, emotional controls and the obstructive mind….The Kingdom is not something which will descend on earth when man is good enough! It is something which is functioning efficiently today and demanding recognition"; that kingdom is not a place of "golden harps, peopled by unintelligent fanatics, but a field of service and a place where every man has full scope for the exercise of his divinity in human service" (The Reappearance of the Christ, p. 50-51). From this experience of enlightenment follows the will to begin reconstruction of the world's institutions along saner, more sustainable lines. "The factual nature of the inner subjective kingdom of God," or kingdom of souls, is "the basic oneness underlying all forms....The citizens of that kingdom and members of that Hierarchy are gathered out of every nation, every political party, every social group, every religious cult or sect, and every organisation-no matter what their expressed objectives-and the universality of the field from which these people emerge, demonstrates their underlying unity. When this unity assumes adequate proportions in the eyes of mankind, a real synthesis will follow" (RI 300-01). In the opening chapter of Glamour a World Problem (pp. 24-25) entitled 'Certain Preliminary Clarifications,' the Tibetan gives instructions for development of the intuition as well as three directives that could as well be applied to us this year following from last year:
- "Define in your words and as a result of your meditation" what illusion means on each level from physical to emotional to mental and in combination.
- "Say each day, with care and thought, the Lord's Prayer....this most ancient formula of truth and interpret it entirely in terms of a formula for the dissipation of illusion....and invocation to the solar Lord."
- "Keep a copy of your full moon record...as to any real contact...or phenomena", and, presumably, the difference between the two.
It is this contact, that living thread of consciousness along which energy, ideas and relationship, flows that makes all the difference. All the theoretical knowledge and abstract thinking are only preliminary to the inner connection that each of us makes. It alone is truly real; it alone transcends bone life. It alone can see past the present and over the maze. There the precious filament of our own life love, like a life line of the heart, awaits our weaving in the great fabric of human evolution being woven out in our time. Knowledge of this ashramic work and of the souls who stand next to us, working with us in whatever bardo they may be, is the highest knowledge of all. This alone gives us privy to our part in the plan of light and love that runs like a golden thread through history.
Wishing you full scope for the exercise of your own divinity in human service.