The Interfaith Meditation Year as World Service
Joann S. Bakula
The meditation of Aries marks the beginning of the spiritual year and the beginning of the three meditations of the higher interlude in the macro cycle of one year equaling one breath: inhalation, exhalation and the pauses between the two, three months each. Working with these four phases of breath is a familiar part of pranayama and basic yoga that most spiritual students have come to know in our age of sharing interfaith practices. Breathing deeply calms the mind; meditating deeply calms the year. Prana is what produces motion in all things and the cycle of breath helps us to relate the microcosm of our own breath to the larger cycles of nature in its seasons of seed planting, growing, harvesting and quiescence, and relate to the evolution of consciousness, and to the much larger cycle of one manvantara equaling one breath of God, as the universe comes into being and goes out of being. Prana, the breath and life itself are cyclic, reflected in the seasons of all aspects of nature.
The higher interlude is one of inspiration, aspiration, and silent listening to the highest and deepest levels of consciousness and beingness to which we are capable. Silence of the daily working mind is necessary in order to listen for impressions of the highest kind. The work of the whole playing out in the planetary life is on too large a scale to see most of the time. The evolutionary plan is considered by esotericists to be a plan of ever greater light and relationship or love, gradually revealing purpose and evoking the will-to-good from the human kingdom. This in turn affects its relationship to nature, making its actions and policies more sustainable and its relationship to enlightened Beings and higher evolutionary states and stages more real and possible.
It sometimes helps to think of our planet as an atom or galaxy, having a center nucleus of will, a middle or linking heart, and an outer rim or periphery. The center is where the will of God is anchored as Plan and Purpose. This active dynamic will functions as a kind of spiritual radiation and serves as a "connecting energy" which comes from the center. "It is, in some sense, the correspondence to the prana which 'enlivens' the dense physical body" enlivening the one Ashram which is the magnetic Heart center. This "is the stimulating factor which produces cohesion among various Ashrams, and is one of the sources of hierarchical unity ….it is service of the Plan which binds the seven Ashrams, with their subsidiary Ashrams, coherently into one great Ashram." It is the 'mixture of love and purpose that produces this magnetic radiation' attracting humanity to the spiritual path leading to the center, or God. Some register this as the Presence. (The Rays and Initiations, pp.376, 375.)
Visualizing the planet from above as a pale blue globe where the web of life, animated by the same prana, contains many interlinked forms helps us to begin with perspective. Visualizing the three higher centers of mind, heart and will on a planetary scale adds to this perspective. Humanity may be seen as the center of mind, enlightened beings and each inner soul as the heart center, and the will of God or planetary purpose as the will center. This helps to make real on a larger scale what we are all individually aware of in our own lives, our minds, hearts and wills. In this way our planet itself awakens to consciousness and humanity becomes cognizant of both its actions to itself and its highest potential for discovering the larger truths and relationships that await us. Striving to think outside of time and place eventually affects how we live here and now.
The highest impressions we receive in meditation come as energy first, pure in its formless nature, held intact by the silence of the working mind, which often rushes to give specific form to what on the higher plane of intuition must be opened to in a different, subtler way. Intuition is often described as a direct perception coming from within, not as something worked up to through analysis or effort, and most definitely not something guessed at or made up to fit a situation. Although the prepared mind may be most likely to register a direct perception of truth, it is not the result of the analytical mind, but a different and higher function sometimes coming as a flash of lightning, sometimes in symbolic form, but always with a deep subjective knowing. In the theosophical and esoteric traditions, atma-buddhi-manas or will-intuition-abstract mind are called the spiritual triad or triple functioning of the enlightened being all have within them, whether we call it the immortal soul or, like Buddhists, call it an-atman or no-soul but the unveiling of pristine awareness or the ground reality of Mind. In any case, a radiant and radiating, all-pervasive, effulgent light at the center of everything is eventually uncovered. As meditation reveals higher levels of impressionability, in whatever field of human betterment, there is a subjective coming together when all from whatever tradition know themselves to be one band of brothers in the brotherhood of spiritual humanity, bound by common values and this Radiant Light.
The West, the East and Humanity as a Whole
This full moon of Aries corresponds to the most important event in the Christian year, Easter and the resurrection of the Christ, as well as the Jewish Passover and protection from evil. Next month at the full moon of May or Taurus, Buddha is acknowledged as the great spiritual figure of the East, celebrated at the Wesak or Vesak Festival in Buddhist nations and by the larger theosophical community. Last year in the General Assembly of the United Nations representatives from many Buddhist nations gathered to celebrate Vesak in a general acknowledgment of the influence Buddhist ethics has had on the forming of the United Nations. This was an extraordinary event that brought Wesak to the attention of the world and continues to reverberate through time. Meditation in this interfaith tradition seeks to unify these two great teachers of East and West by calling them brothers. The third meditation, of June or Gemini, is the meditation of united humanity itself, often called the Goodwill meditation and includes the celebration of World Invocation Day by publicizing the Great Invocation. Most people end their meditation with the Great Invocation, although some begin with the invocation, as in the Buddhist tradition.
The themes of the Tibetan's most famous Easter message (The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, pp. 468-488) are resurrection and restoration. The resurrection of the human spirit is an everlasting theme of Easter and the restoration of balance between capital, management and labor comes to mind in our time. Today, it seems, we increasingly face the motivation to kill the spirit of a group or an individual. There are those who would like to kill Islam and human rights, those who would kill Communism and Catholicism, and those who would kill capitalism and Judaism. There is a certain arrogance and short-sightedness in all of those who would kill the spirit, whether of an individual, a group or an institution that meets human needs, at the same time their is a longing for freedom of thought and freedom from tight systems. In this Aries-Easter meditation to serve the world, we strengthen and celebrate the human spirit that breaks free and can never be constrained for long. Pope Benedict XVI pointed out on this recent trip to Mexico and Cuba, that power does not rest on force but on love and goodness, and human strategies are not adequate to save us; they are not the same as the divine Plan of love and light. It is the restoration of the Plan of Love and Light that we dedicate our Easter meditation to.
As the Tibetan said and Alice Bailey wrote in that Easter message, "From the highest spiritual Being upon our planet through the graded spiritual groups of enlightened and perfected [people] who work upon the inner side of life, on into the outer world of daily living, where thinking, loving men and women serve, the tide of the new life sweeps. The Plan is ready for immediate application and intelligent implementing; the workers are there and the power to work is adequate to the need. The three Full Moons which we have been considering are simply the three points in time through which the needed power is to be released."
Wishing you all resurrection of Christ-in-you and in the world, and the power of your spirit to break through all obstacles to reveal the Radiant Light and unconditional Love that is its nature.
Joann S. Bakula April 2012