Conscious and Unconscious
What a time we are living in! Who can doubt the sense of humanity immersed in
the crises, shocks, and deep conversations accompanying transformation. As I
prepare these few notes I am in Darjeeling, in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Here, in the special inner atmosphere of this place, there is a quite palpable
sense of the presence of Subtle Worlds. The membranes between inner and outer
seem to be unusually thin. And so it is that one is constantly meeting people
who are in process of reorienting their lives around some new-found sense of
meaning and purpose.
The personal encounters with ‘strangers’ who are coming to terms with the mysteries, strengths and awesomeness of Soul are more frequent here than in most places. Yet this does not mean that the transformation is not happening elsewhere. It is just that it is not so close to the surface as it is here. Everywhere human beings are being shaken up, firstly by ideas of wholeness and interdependence, and secondly by an awakening to some of the potencies of the Fires of the Divine.
So let us have in mind this moving, questioning, reorienting of consciousness that is such a character of our time as we work with the energy flow of the Pisces full moon. Think of the Christ and of the Great Ones Who stand with Him on the Inner Side of Life. Think of Their radiant aura at this time – reaching into the minds and hearts of peoples and nations. The Christ, we are told, works “through all groups just in so far as they fit themselves for planned service, for the distribution of love, and come into conscious alignment with the great potency of the inner groups”. And think of those great beings: the Spirit of Peace and the Avatar of Synthesis.
Can we for a moment concentrate these thoughts of the changes in consciousness by thinking about another place on earth – a place far from the town of Darjeeling and the peace of the Himalayas. Think about the UN Headquarters in New York, the entire building and its occupants – the General Assembly (with all government representatives present), the tall Secretariat Building and those who work there, the Meditation Room in the public foyer with its vast, solid rock of iron ore in the centre; the adjacent buildings housing UNICEF, the Children’s Fund along with offices of other UN agencies, and the offices of numerous UN delegations from Peoples Groups. Can we see all this concentration of people and buildings as an important part of the emerging temple of humanity, flooded with light; the walls and very substance of the buildings impregnated with an all-pervasive light pouring from the Spirit of Peace and the Avatar of Synthesis?
The symbol for Pisces is of two fishes bound together by a single thread. In the most basic sense it is a symbol of duality and of imprisonment and slavery – the two fishes are unable to break free, they are tied to each other. Now as we prepare to enter an age of freedom and wholeness this hardly sounds like an image to inspire. But the intriguing thing about the image is that it offers a complete vision of the evolutionary path for humanity, from the initial steps of the immature psyche through to the triumphant emergence of a World Saviour – a Christ, a Buddha or any one of a number of lesser Saviours.
Pisces is said to govern the feet. The evolutionary path, seen in the light of Pisces, is about the total redemption and transformation of matter – head, heart and feet are liberated in Pisces. The Bodhisattva vow not to seek freedom from the cycle of rebirths until all sentient beings have been liberated is the true opportunity of this sign.
So what about the duality, imprisonment and slavery? On the earliest stages of the path the human kingdom (as individuals and en masse) experiences life through a total immersion in the world of outer seeming, the world of form. The soul is the total and absolute prisoner of the personality. This is the beginning of the journey. Instinct governs; the psyche is fluid, and open to impressions from all angles. Mind is hardly present. The higher self is literally held prisoner. Through the endless round of incarnations the lower self is built up and the prison becomes more defined, more concentrated with clear desires, with an awakened intellect, personality goals and ambitions. This is duality, but not in any conscious sense, for there is one fish who is totally dominant, who takes all the food and nourishment, while the other is helpless and simply has to bide its time. But the time comes, eventually when the voice of the other begins to be heard. The great illusion, the thoughtform that this world of outer appearances is the total reality begins to be seen to be untrue. The voices of conscience and of the intuition begin to sing of another reality, mythical regions of space take on significance and become important elements in life. Duality is now all about the relation between the two fishes and there is conflict, tension, dynamic interplay.
This switch between unconscious duality and conscious duality is a critical time in the evolution of consciousness – it is difficult, challenging, exhausting – but wonderful. In astrological terms there is said to be a turning of the wheel, a reversal of the whole trend of the psyche away from the involutionary work of building up the vehicles of personality and ego. As the process continues the image of imprisonment continues – but now there is a reversal of roles. Now it is the personality that is becoming imprisoned by the soul – the soul is captor and the food, the energy of life and consciousness nourishes soul (initially, and for some time, to the detriment of the personality).
The only real choice the personality has now is to choose to swim freely in the same direction as the soul – and to find a releasing joy and freedom in this choice. Freedom is found in service. The fish immersed in the waters of incarnation chooses to swim in patterns and directions that are impressed from the fish of the inner worlds – and the two find a co-operative relationship. It is this higher freedom that humanity is in process of learning – and all on the path are, in some way or another, intimately involved in this learning process. Its important to emphasise that this is a process – we are not speaking here of black and white, of should or of good and bad. We are speaking of the meaning of the path in our time, when circumstances in many of our lives are so arranged as to challenge us to explore the possibilities of freely chosen co-operation with the vision and purpose of the Christ within.
There is a further picture presented to us with the Pisces energies – and it is an image which is described in the seed thought for our meditation tonight: I leave the Father’s Home and turning back, I save. This is the ultimate direction and purpose of evolution – it is the image of the saviour, the Christ:
Here, at the final stage, Pisces stands for the death of the personality and the release of the soul from captivity and its return into the task of the world Saviour. The great achievement is finished and the final death is undergone. "There is no more sea” says the ancient book, which means inevitably the "death of the fishes” and the release of the imprisoned life into new forms or new cycles of the divine Adventure.
Esoteric Astrology, p. 121
This is our destiny, it seems so incredible, but we are destined, in the
future, to work with the Bodhisattva vow to return to contribute to the One Work
of rowing all sentient beings to the shores of enlightenment. When we think of
the great saviours we think of the Christ and the Buddha Whose lights continue
to shine through with saving grace – but think of the multitude of lesser
saviours who have lived their life in such a way as to inspire others, to
champion some area of human rights, to help us to see and experience the
wholeness vision in human terms. Think, for example, of Nelson Mandela whose
sacrifice involved imprisonment; and whose whole being has become so infused
with forgiveness that he is able to reveal this soul potency to humanity in an
entirely new and unforgettable way. Think of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama who
communicates something of the essence of loving kindness as it concerns the
personal life and the lives of communities, nations and the world in such a way
that millions of people are deeply affected. This is the saving force.
All enlightened servers on the planet are destined to so grow in their ability to serve that they become overshadowed and transformed into a group saviour. We refer in the Great Invocation to the return of Christ – one of the future possibilities that the Tibetan writes of is a simultaneous appearance of three saving lives: the Cosmic Avatar; the Christ, or World Saviour; “and – at the same time – a group Saviour, composed of responsive disciples and world servers”. [Externalisation, p. 308] At this time of the Pisces full moon we can usefully imagine the role that these aspects of the world saviour might play in humanity.
In the meantime, in our own lives, each of us is challenged to find our own fields of service – avenues of expression where we can learn about selflessness and where we can learn how to immerse ourselves in activities that contribute to the uplift of consciousness. Its one of those things – we learn about serving selflessly by serving – we learn about group service by being part of a group – by feeling ourselves to be simply one of a group. The challenge of the spiritual path is to so reorient our thinking and our actions that we find ourselves, almost without noticing it, to be an energetic point of radiation – a point within a network of countless points – all learning to love and serve.
Here in Darjeeling I am involved with a beautiful service project – the Darjeeling Goodwill Animal Shelter. Yesterday I was at a small, simple, heart-full ceremony to bless the land prior to the beginning of construction of a new animal shelter close to Darjeeling. From this new shelter a team of vets and colleagues will operate a programme to care for the street dogs of Darjeeling and the neighbouring district. The same group, in association with the Himalayan Community of Living Ethics (based in Italy and India), is also developing a new Goodwill Centre in the heart of Darjeeling where there will be a Reading Room containing books of Spiritual Teaching from different traditions (including Alice Bailey and Agni Yoga writings), together with information on goodwill activities in Darjeeling district, India and the world.
There is so much good work being done in the world to channel and express the awakening sense of responsibility for incarnating the wholeness vision – how fortunate we are to have such a wealth of opportunities to serve at this time of change.