The next meditation as world service is Monday, July 22 (6:17pm GMT) in the sign of Leo. Themes for this meditation often highlight the process of growth from dependence to independence to interdependence, each stage equally important. This sign of Leo is usually associated with independence and individuality and the gifts of independence, such as self-determination, self-governance, self-regulation, self-reliance — as in Emerson's famous essay "Self-Reliance" — and the "Sovereignty of Self," an idea credited to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, co-founder of the Women's Suffrage movement with Susan B. Anthony.
The United Nations was founded after individual nations — that is governments — waged war against each other with weapons of mass destruction so horrendous that millions of civilians were killed. Finally the nations designed weapons lethal enough to threaten the interdependent environmental web of life itself. That urge to end the suffering nations caused each other and the web of life gave birth to the United Nations, a step ahead in social evolution. In the 21 c we are still plagued by endless small wars, which turn cities into war zones and cause families with children to flee as refugees. And we are still plagued by the threat of nuclear and many other types of terrorizing weapons of war, including social and economic weapons of war, threatening in subtler ways. Journalist Jeremy Scahill(Dirty Wars)has called these 'war without end.' Building a Culture of Peace begins, like war, in the minds of men, and using the mind to kill the wars would seem to be the next step in humanity's integration as one functional entity with freedom. China has identified "three evil forces" as "separatism, extremism and terrorism," which can be described as the evils of wrong view and wrong method. Building a Culture of Peace requires right view and right method, often described in Gandhian terms as non-violent non-cooperation.
In the words of Vaclav Havel, "In everyone there is some longing for humanity's rightful dignity, for moral integrity, for free expression of being and a sense of transcendence over the world of existence. Yet … each person is capable, to a greater or lesser degree, of coming to terms with living the lie ….In everyone there is some willingness to merge with the anonymous crowd and to flow comfortably along with it down the river of pseudo-life….it is a challenge to the vey notion of identity itself," (Living in Truth, p.54). A culture of peace is a goal still not within sight, but evoking much creative thought and meditation for world service in the world of ideas. As the saying goes, the future path can be seen in the vivid light of the intuition.
Perhaps the next step ahead in societal evolution and building a culture of peace is to recognize the Sovereignty of Selves that make up the one humanity. We often call humanity the 'human family' but, as we know, families are frequently dysfunctional. As psychologist Bruno Bettelheim discovered years ago, abandonment and favoritism are the two leading causes of disorders in children, and children take their betrayals and competitive hierarchies with them into adulthood until (and sometimes after) they achieve the freedom of individuation. Sibling rivalry is as old as Cain and Abel, and today divorce is endemic. It's the independent individual, the sovereignty of self, that is the indivisible and therefore basic unit of life itself, before nation or family, is it not? The corporation is also not an individual, it does not have biological life, and it is not conscious in a way that an individual is.
The Sovereign Self as World Citizen
Is it not possible to consider an organizational structure that recognizes the sovereignty of the adult self as the foundational stone of the one humanity in addition to nations, governing structures, families and corporations? Universal rights and responsibilities begin on an individual level the same for all, as the foundation of world citizenship. The idea of world citizenship is not new; it was first expressed in Ancient Greece, along with the idea of democracy. In later years Thomas Paine elaborated on the idea: "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren and to do good is my religion." Many of us who adopted world citizenship as part of our life philosophy joined with Donald Keys, speech writer for U Thant, who created the Planetary Citizens network in the 1970s and promoted Planetary Passports. Is this one of the evolutionary ideas that leads to greater freedom, a sustainable world civilization, and a culture of peace? One Humanity made of Sovereign Selves is a concept that substands and is more fundamental than the concept of united nations, but harder to organize before the digital age. The Tibetan identified the two key structural concepts as 'the fact of the One Humanity and the value of the individual.' The Sovereignty of Self is an extension of this idea as the fundamental life principle of humanity.
This meditation under the constellation of Leo is the perfect opportunity to consider what the psychology of the sovereignty of self could mean in values. It might begin with sovereignty over one's body and the right to choice in the manner of natural birth and natural death. In Great Britain a woman's choice of natural birth methods is much greater, for instance, than in the U.S., known for its frequent refusal to allow the infant to choose its own day and time of birth. Some hospitals in Great Britain routinely offer the choice of a bed, chair or pool for natural child birth. The right to die in a peaceful environment has been called a basic human right by Sogyal Rinpoche, author of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, who draws the distinction between prolonging life and prolonging dying. Today natural death and natural birth are not fashionable in some wealthy countries, where institutions make policies infringing on the rights of the individuals.
Even more primary to sovereignty is the issue of slavery. This is the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War battles of Gettysburg and Lincoln's famous Gettysburg address: 'this unfinished work so nobly advanced.' The issues of freedom and civil rights are unending and immediate. Even though slavery is no longer tolerated, human trafficking is a major concern in the United Nations. Economic slavery seems to be a trend again.
Democracy of Equality
The democracy of equality between men and women is less than 100 years old. The first true centennial of the democracy won't be until 2019! 'Women who are slaves give birth to men who are slaves,' Helena Roerich wrote. The end of slavery in the U.S. and Great Britain, and the end of serfdom in Russia are all less than 200 years old. And the war for civil rights and equal rights is not over but goes on in every generation. We have the inalienable right and responsibility to think and to examine our lives, our natures and nature. We don't have to give up religion for science or science for religion or either one for money. Many retired people now have the leisure to think, to resume the inquiries of youth before necessities overtook them, and to advance the human condition.
Definitions of Sovereign and Self
Several dictionary definitions of sovereign are: 'paramount, supreme, chief, independent, self-governing, having supreme rank or power, first in power or authority.' A dictionary definition of self is 'the individual; character or personality; individual's consciousness of his own being or identity; subjectivity; ego. Three psychological definitions in chronological order are as follows. Carl Jung defined self as "an empirical concept, the self designates the whole range of psychic phenomena in man. It expresses the unity of the personality as a whole" but because the personality is not totally conscious, "the concept of the self is, in part, only potentially empirical." It encompasses both the experienceable, the yet to be experienced, and the inexperienceable. Jung switches to the term psychic to continue. "In so far as psychic totality, consisting of both conscious and unconscious contents, is a postulate, it is a transcendental concept." (Psychological Types, p. 460). In Bailey's Esoteric Psychology (Vol. II, p. 440) the self is composed of the subconscious self, the conscious self and the super-conscious self. Psychologist Roberto Assagioli, who studied with Freud, Jung and Bailey, calls these the "personal self and the higher Self (Psychosynthesis, p. 86), as well as using Jung's and Bailey's definitions.
Right relationship between the whole and the individual unit is the central universal polarity that recurs again and again in world affairs and therefore in world service meditation. Raising this polarity up to its reunion on the plane of intuition where the pre-phenomenal whole is seen is an ongoing visualization. The meditative use of intuitive perception creates a field of unity and releases creative energy flooding the world with light and goodwill, the two primary energies of mind and heart, until an antahkarana bridge between the super-conscious self and the conscious /subconscious self actually results in overcoming ourselves and achieving the conscious direction of social evolution.
Best wishes for a meditation from the center of the sovereign Self releasing the power of light and goodwill in your life, in your group, and in the world.
Joann S. Bakula