Here we are again, standing before that all pervasive flow of the waters of life at the full moon of Aquarius. So much of our time and of our lives, as groups and individuals, is about our sensitivity to this flow and the way in which we are learning to ride the wave.
All pervasive and intangible, airy, conditioning the way we think - Aquarian energies are reshaping what it is to be human in our time and, in the process, reshaping the way in which we experience the spiritual path. It is surely true that the path is eternal. Yet Aquarius shows us this well trodden path in a new light - so we see it differently - see it in a 21st century context - in relation to the problems, crises and challenges of our modern world.
Service in the light of Aquarius will be our theme. To approach this theme in a manner that invites intuition and reaches out beyond the mind of intellect we should first pause to enter into the Great Silence. Only then can we each begin to sense the immensity of the group nature of our Work with its vertical and horizontal dimensions; sense something of the stupendous vision of the Presence throughout the Universe; something of the beauty of the Higher Worlds. Think about this notion of Group in our monthly meditations. We are called to recognize that the Group mind is a field of consciousness - with many inter-penetrating levels, layers and subtleties. There is the collective mind of all the meditating groups living as embodied lives in the world - all minds merging to form one broad field of incarnated consciousness. This stretches inwards and upwards on a vertical arm to embrace the field of those out of incarnation whose natural focus and livingness is concerned with the growth and evolution of humanity and the Earth - it reaches through the hierarchies of potency that populate the Inner Worlds - hierarchies of light and Purpose, of Love and Wisdom. And the group field we are entering into also reaches out in a horizontal dimension - the lighted, loving potencies we contact are radiated outwards through the wide fields of incarnated human, animal, plant and mineral consciousness. And so we serve - each in our own way nurturing through imagination, visualization and thought the uplift and transformation of the world. We take our place within the One Life in service of the One Work - and we do so now, at this time, in the light of Aquarius.
Pause to enter into the Great Silence
We know o Lord of Life and Love about the need,
Touch our hearts anew with Love,
That we too, may love and give.
As individuals, as nations and as a species we human beings, whether we like it or not, are being swept into the great river of Aquarius. Pisces conditioned our past Aquarius conditions our future. Instinctually and automatically we sense the future. It shapes the visions, purposes and goals that bring us hope and inspiration. It conditions something of our expectation of the future. This is how the Plan (the destiny held in mind for us by Deity) is registered in the limited minds and hearts of the human. When a future is sensed or hoped for or seen as possible this awakens our innate human qualities of will, labor, persistence and intelligent activity. We find a multitude of ways of working for the dimly envisioned positive future. And we do this in line with our own unique character (with our soul and personal energies, our astrological make-up, and the levels of maturity we have acquired through the Soul's many incarnations). All this is true of us as individuals - just as it is true of our nations and of the human family as a whole … and we can surmise of the planet.
So lets look at Aquarius as it concerns the individual, the group and humanity as a whole. In terms of the individual I am concerned here with people in process of treading the spiritual path. And for those who think that this is a relatively small group of people who follow particular approaches to spirituality I want to suggest that all who are inspired by a sense of the wholeness and interdependence of life and who are actively in process of shaping their lives around this holistic vision are treading the Path. This is a significant portion of the world population - particularly of those who are educated, who are readers and thinkers in all cultures and all communities. Just look at the research by Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson, whose 2000 book The Cultural Creatives has the sub-title: How 50 million people are changing the world; or look at the inspiring recent work by Paul Hawken: Blessed Unrest.
For these individuals on the path Aquarius presents a future in which our process of spiritual development and maturity is becoming increasingly concerned with the theme of service to the well being of the whole and with group consciousness or collective intelligence.
Service, in the Aquarian spirit, is all about 'riding the wave' and 'going with the flow'. The quality of service has been called the spontaneous activity of a loving heart and an intelligent mind. It is what happens as the separate, personal self steps out of the way. When we think about this we can see why service is seen as an expression of mature spirituality. As in the Bodhisattva vow to give up the quest for Enlightenment and to return to earth until all beings have been liberated - to become a true world server represents the absolute peak of attainment on the spiritual path for the vast majority of souls. It is the ultimate Goal lying ahead of each one of us - and as such it is an appropriate theme for research, pondering and mediation throughout our lives. What better way of creatively and dynamically moving forward in line with soul purpose and intent.
This view of service is not so much about the normal understanding of service - it is about a natural and easy response to need and to the flow of life. Think about the keynote we will be using in meditation: 'Water of Life am I poured forth for thirsty men'. Think about what it would mean if you or I were to instinctively and automatically respond to the age-old question 'Who Am I?' with this thought: 'I am a vessel through which the waters of life, flow freely to satisfy people's thirst'. Imagine these living, healing waters flowing through you in such a way that you find your meaning and purpose in their free flow. This suggests ease, poise, naturalness - something that comes only when the little self, the personality, is at ease with the Soul and with the Soul's natural alignment with Life and life's purposes. It is not something that can be contrived or 'forced' onto our lives through some sense of what we should be doing. Yet it is something we can build towards by actively building alignment with the soul.
Think about this comment (taken from Alice Bailey's Esoteric Astrology):
Esoterically, the developed Aquarian puts all he has into his water pot, storing it there for service and giving it freely on demand to meet a need. [p. 136]
Even though we may not all be Aquarians - we are all, ultimately, headed towards this destiny of becoming world servers. It will, in some future life, be the culmination of our spiritual journey. So we can prepare for this time by pondering the natural state of the soul as server. This is who we are. By getting to know our inner Self as server we will begin to find our own native approach to service. Service is not something that can be approached from outside in - authentic service flows from within. The Soul sees into a brother or sisters heart - or into the meaning and opportunity of a community or national or global issue - sees in such a way as to evoke a flow of love - a flow which will lead to action (this is in the nature of love) yet that action may be subtle just as it may be practical and concrete.
As we think of service in energetic, living terms - rather than in terms of morality or of its outer human expression - we begin to see into the mystery of the 'life more abundantly' - the generous vital flow of life that lies at the core of our existence. This is why meditation with its conscious fostering of the higher mind and the deeper heart leads us into Aquarian fields of service.
None of these comments means that esoteric work is simply work we are to do on ourselves - that it has no engagement in the great life and death issues of our time. Esoteric work is about bridging between the inner and outer - about bringing the universal presence and the potency of wholeness we find within into expression in the outer. There is no separation. But the key point is that the esoteric approach to this work in synthesis originates inside - comes from the heights within and flows out into expression. And that is a very important distinction. Work from inside out is informed, impelled and impregnated by the reservoirs of abundant life we find within. Work from inside out, in every area of our lives, IS service.
One of the key issues in any reflection on service is: Who is serving? So much of our ideas about service are to do with the dramatic 'I' at the center of each of our universes - with the 'sense of I-ness'. So when we think about service we think about how we (or our group) can act in such a way as to change or save the world - we are thinking about how significant a role 'we' or 'I' could play. This is a trap which has to be demolished if we are to approach service in the Aquarian spirit, where the response to need is so immediate that we are impelled to act in ways that seem useful and helpful - and those ways grow deeper as we grow deeper in our own understanding, in our ability to love with detachment and impersonality. We can creatively imagine that as we get older in years we will find ourselves serving with less sense of self and our identity will become increasingly aligned with the purposeful flow of intelligent, wise love - so that when we think about people, issues in the world, and about the important things we do in our lives - we will think and act in such a way as to nourish the development and maturing of consciousness. We will see the significance of our actions as small contributions to the birthing of a new world - and our focus will be on the birthing itself - and on all of the creative actions being taken by people in incarnation and by the host of spirits out of incarnation to speed up that birthing.
One final thought. The image of the server in Aquarius is of the person carrying a pitcher of water, balanced on the shoulder. The pitcher is full of water - and so it is heavy. Yet the server is beautifully balanced - standing upright, tall and focused. Standing thus - the waters flow ceaselessly, magically because they are the universal waters of life. The server simply allows these sacred, healing, life-giving waters to flow through the realms of time, space and incarnated consciousness.
In Aquarius that great mythic figure Hercules was faced with the problem of the King's cattle stables that had become poisoned by mountains of dung - they had never been cleaned out and the surrounding fields were also piled high with muck. Nothing was growing, the stench was unbearable and people were dying. Hercules offered to help - the king, wary that he wanted to steal his throne, issued the hero with an impossible challenge: yes you can clean the stables, but you must do it in one day. The impossible was done when Hercules diverted two rivers so that they poured their waters through the dung-filled stables.
These images of the Aquarian server and Hercules come to mind when I think of one of the United Nations themes for this year, 2008. It is the International Year of Sanitation. 41%, almost half of the entire population of the world, lacks access to basic sanitation: toilets and running water for washing and cleaning. This is one of the major causes of illness and preventable deaths in the world. As we move towards the full flow of the Aquarian Age, and as we sit with the Aquarian energies of this full moon it seems right and appropriate to be thinking about sanitation. Let the waters of life, in all of their abundance, flow into and through every initiative in our time that is acting to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by the year 2015. And let us hold in mind the two images of Aquarius (the Server, with the pitcher of water, and Hercules diverting the two rivers to clean the stables) as we think of the network of groups, organizations, governments and international agencies working throughout this year to achieve this apparently impossible goal. Remember the goal can only be met if the peoples of the world - us - want it to be met - if it occupies a priority in our thinking and our sense of future possibilities - if it enters into our meditations. We are involved whether we like it or not, and as more and more people become inspired by the opportunity of ensuring that increasing numbers of people have access to basic sanitation - So will we as a world community be following in the footsteps of Hercules.
See the UN Days & Years Meditation Initiative meditation on the International Year for Sanitation