As we complete this last quarter of the spiritual year and prepare for the 3 months of the higher spiritual interlude, we might "breathe deep the gathering dawn" of the new era, while the old one breathes its last in the insolvable dilemma of the old way.
In this sign of the World Savior there are said to be three keynotes: captivity, detachment and sacrifice, all reflective of the duality that ends here. This is the story of forthgoing and return; the descent of the spirit into matter, its turning point, and re-ascent back to the spiritual Home from which it came. Captivated by desire for earthly experience, we finally detach ourselves by sacrificing what keeps us here. This is the story of the second line of evolution, that of consciousness and spirit. The life span of the human reflects the life span of the soul; and the macrocosm is reflected in the microcosm. So too the Monad or Spirit absorbs the soul, finally seen to be only a fleeting rainbow bridging to the Real. This leaves the last duality. The Tibetan quotes the Old Commentary as referring to "absorption back into [the] originating Motive."
This last of the 12 signs is often contemplated as the sign of absorption and abstraction, often referred as the process of 'drying up' and the 'hour of synthesis.' The famous Tibetan Buddhist meditation master, Kalu Rinpoche (Luminous Mind), describes 8 levels of absorption in meditation, beginning with an experience in which "conception, evaluation, pleasure and happiness are still present in the mind" to succeeding levels in which all of these disappear, ending with the final four absorptions. These are described as, the 'realm of limitless space', the domain of 'unlimited awareness', the 'realm of nothingness', and 'the realm where there is no conception nor nonconception'. All of these are described as 'lofty meditation states' with each successive level 'having fewer fixations'. All nonetheless are 'occurring in samsara and conditioned by its illusions', even these four highest meditative states of formless plane experiences.
This absorption and 'drying up' could be one good reason why mystics and contemplatives have so often been drawn to the desert. The Desert Fathers took after Christ himself who went to the desert to fast before deciding on his best course of service to the world. It was there that he made his choice.
In this United Nations Year of Deserts and Desertification, focussing as it does on human abuse of the environment causing desertification, it is also wise to remember that the drying up process is part of the natural life cycle of body and soul and everything in between. The great deserts remind us of this state. This includes the drying up of emotions, desires, mind, and all aspects of form, until all is absorbed, abstracted and synthesized. Each 'body' of the 5-fold human aggregate desires food and, as the Hindus say, 'everything is food,' to one sense and chakra or another. In the mystery of the desert, life is lived with little moisture, vegetation and what it symbolizes: the astral body itself with all of its desire/feeling, attraction/aversion, love/hate, lust and puritanism, comfort/discomfort. All astral wants dry up. The life that centers around attachment to personal states-whatever their nature--evaporates under the severe rays of the Sun itself. Desire stops growing and dries up. The beauty of the desert is in its directness and simplicity. Perception clears. As Krishnamurti used to say in a similar vein, 'the tree is seen without a single leaf.'
The two lines of energy we associate with will/power and love/wisdom, the 1st and 2nd rays, are connected to the basic duality pondered in this meditation and found in every human, "that of head and heart, of mind and love, and of will and wisdom." The work is to develop both qualities and bring them into synthetic interplay. "Eventually there has to be complete fusion of love and mind before a world savior can manifest and function efficiently," the Tibetan writes in the Bailey books. "Remember that we are occupied with the Great Illusion which is the major task of man in this particular world cycle to master and dissipate, and so to inaugurate the reign of the Real. It is the revelation of the Real which is the task all initiates undertake after the final experience of the twelve tests in the twelve signs."
No matter which language we find most useful in any given month, they all add to the pool of spiritual energies available "for immediate implementation." We may use the more secular Greek myth of Hercules, as the hero laboring through his 12 tests; the story of sacrifice and redemption portrayed by the Christ; the meditation insights of Buddhism; the rhythm of the spiritual year as one breath; the keynotes for disciples in the Bailey books; or the universal language of mind, heart and will found in the stanzas of the Great Invocation. All spiritual stories that reveal the journey of the soul and are universal are the world's treasure of wisdom. They give hope for a more enlightened future, a future where implementation follows the will-to-good without obstruction. It's up to us.
From alignment with the Father's House we turn toward implementation on earth to create a better world. Saving is the ultimate deed of implementation, and proof of will, proof of the will-to-good. This last sign is the sign of completion and is symbolic of the fulfillment of human consciousness and beingness in the world of human experience. It is, therefore, the sign of skill in action and unobstructed implementation working out as right human relations. At this end of a cycle we ponder on the goal achieved, and 'living up to our ideals.' We are all made of "substance tinged with karma." Equally true, we are all made of stardust, as Carl Sagan pointed out. Somewhere between karma and stardust we live our lives, redeeming the wrong and rising up to the star. We are all the same in this regard, whether we know it or not. And our destiny is the same: redeemers one and all.