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The Goal and the Team

Michelle Pearce
November 2007

As humanity learns to travel the spiral spiritual evolutionary path and be released from the spherical friction of identification with form, it finds that freedom and liberation is achieved not through force but consciousness. It is that one right attitude and mental posture that releases from current friction into a greater expanse that brings into view the wider vistas that are the next goal. And that next goal, when properly seen, is found not to be simply a vague vision of beauty, some far off ideal, but an actual opening through which humanity is to proceed.

Perception of the goal as an opening through which one places something (e.g. consciousness) rather than simply a vision to be seen is not a new definition. It is found in many team sports. In these team sports there is a team purpose and a team plan and this plan is achieved through proper placement consistently into and through the goal at the end of the playing field. And, as if in some flattened representation of spiral motion, this same goal must be passed through again and again in order to win the game and play out the plan. The goal does not actually change. It is still just an opening through which the team is to place the object in play, and yet each time they do so in a different manner, using different plays, honing and perfecting their teamwork and their skills. It is as if the goal, though seen as all-important, is only a way to achieve the needed teamwork and to demonstrate that the team has achieved the needed skill. In other words, perhaps the goal can be perceived not as an end but as an end that leads to perfecting the means.

Here it may be appropriate to remind about the tendency to be limited by narrow concrete thinking of the lower mind and the tendency to upside down reflections of the personal perceptions. Perhaps the current human idea of goals and ends and means is a distortion of reality. If the team perceived the goal as simply the end and the skill as the means to the end, then after one score through the goal the game would be over, the goal having been reached. But, that is not how we play team sports. It would be short, boring and most significantly, it would be pure blundering luck to have achieved the goal at all because it takes many such efforts and practicing for the team to achieve the needed skill to make the goal consistently, time after time, in order to win the game and achieve the overall purpose according to the game plan.

Sometimes thinking about mundane things in new ways helps to open up one's eyes. The achievement of new and expanded vision is a part of the process of putting the object in play through the goal. It is part of the plan and part of the play. The usual thought, however, is that the object in play and what it means to reach the goal is measured by human activity. The Buddha taught that right activity is simply the effect of right attitude and right thinking. So, perhaps the object in play to be put into the goal is not right activity. If it does have to do more with right attitude and right thinking, as the Great One taught, then what does that mean practically for humanity and striving to reach a goal?

When most humanitarians, spiritual aspirants and servers assess the progress of humanity they rightfully look at worldwide harmony and cooperation, right relations. But, as the new synthesis of psychology with Buddhist mindfulness practice has discovered, having a vision at odds with the current reality can be very discouraging and disempowering and the vision of the future goal is only one half of the needed equation. That vision is ultimately built on an ideal. That ideal is limited by being the vision of one personality swimming and interacting in a sea of a multitude of personalities. As the energies of group cooperation and work become more predominant the illusion of being able to achieve an individual vision becomes revealed. If the vision is not a group vision then the direction to achieve it is subject to not only error of vision, but also error of energy. That is, it is like one individual player on the team seeing the goal a bit to the left of the rest of the team. It throws the entire team play off kilter and the teamwork becomes ineffective, without cohesiveness, lacking unified purpose and harmony of flow. Further, that individual player will feel himself or herself to be playing against or at odds with their own team. This will feel like friction, frustration, and discouragement and depression may be the result. The skill of the team play requires that the entire team of individual players be united in how and where they see the goal and in the plan to get there. Hence, if the team activity is occurring before the play has been visioned together as a team, then chaos and discouragement are bound to be the results.

This elucidates two points: 1. evolution and advancement is made as a group and not as individuals, and 2. the goal visioned by the group is necessary, as well. The common error for many spiritual aspirants is to think of the goal as a personal one. Further, all spiritual, religious and wisdom teachings speak to the unified nature of Oneness of the spiritual kingdoms. If the goal for humanity is achieving more expansive and accurate conscious recognitions and realizations of the reality of spiritual unity and oneness that underlies the intelligent activity of the form world, then persistently hitting that goal or mark over and over again as a group is what will bring that reality squarely into the consciousness of the group and serve to create the cohesiveness and unity of the consciousness of the fourth kingdom in the process.

The new age of humanity with its climate of group and organization provides the opportunity for human realization of the nature of itself as a shared group consciousness and the ability to infuse that shared consciousness with higher and wider spiritual ideas thus enriching, expanding and purifying human consciousness. Nowhere in this new formula for human evolution though is there room for focus on personal achievement where it excludes implications for the individual as an integrated part of the whole. Focus on individual achievement only as a part of the group and as a means of contribution to the group becomes an integral part of the means that is being reaped from prior achievement of the human group consciousness. In other words, the ability to recognize the shared human consciousness is a result of the refining process of hitting that goal for the past eons of human evolution. As humanity settles into this recognition of its unity and shared ideas, working for individual achievement outside the unified whole becomes relegated to the past and thus to the left hand path. Those individuals at the vanguard of the human race, the leading edge of evolutionary consciousness and advancement, become those that are striving selflessly in cooperation with the group unity and for the group. Those that take the path of least resistance, of the past, and continue to focus on individual achievement are either at an appropriate stage of individual evolution but not at the forefront of the race or holding the race back from its team plan for greater unity, cohesiveness and harmony.

The question for the individual who feels the urge for spiritual striving at this point of transition with its many crosscurrents and chaos is how to proceed skillfully. The usual question may be what can I do to grow and achieve an expanded spiritual consciousness, to become enlightened? And, as an enlightened individual how can I contribute to humanity? This leads to questions about what the individual service of intelligent activity should look like. The team player, however, frames the question with a slightly different slant. What skills and gifts do I have that can contribute to the team goal and enhance the playing of the rest of the team members so that we can reach our goal and improve our playing? This is the new question.

The central and key idea here is the team or the group. Each and every question, each and every keynote becomes centered around the idea of the group. This demands a change in thinking or consciousness and it is this change that also signifies the correct direction to achieve the next goal. So, when one thinks of seeing and meeting a goal in the upcoming era of harmony and right relations, one needs to keep in mind that this goal refers to the entire group and oneself as an integral part of that group. Harmony and right relations by their very nature are centered on a group reality and dynamic. The individual with the right attitude and thinking is one that correctly is able to place themselves as an integral living and contributing part of the larger group dynamic. Selflessness in this new world may be less giving up of oneself than a giving oneself over to and for the benefit of the harmony of the group. Thus, the horizontal arm of selfless group service is added to the vertical arm of spiritual achievement and the entire world becomes lifted up in the arms of the group redeemer on the cross.

The time of the full moon is an opportunity to join in consciousness with and to give self over to the group self, serving across and for all the planetary kingdoms. It is a time of right relations and harmony that can become the leaven for realization of the shared consciousness within humanity. So let us wholeheartedly join with our group brothers and sisters, across the world and across the veils, in this service now.