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Meditation Within the Cave of the Collective

By Steve Nation
July 2005


We live in a time of transition. All sorts of deep changes are in process. Fields of mind and heart are being stirred and this manifests in every area of life: from the intimacies of our private inner worlds through to our relationships, to the neighborhoods we live in, and to the issues that dominate the news. What role does our work with meditation during the full moon cycle have to play in this time of change?

I think it has a profound role to play. The power of thought is used to nourish and support the anchoring of Aquarian principles in the substance and structure of human consciousness. That is a pretty broad statement. Ideas and experiences of wholeness, of interdependence and of the unique sacredness of the individual are becoming a significant factor in the daily awareness of large numbers of people: the 'cultural creatives' of the world. The monthly meditation work we do aims to provide a nourishing, nurturing environment in the worlds of thought and feeling to help to speed up the incarnation of Aquarian values.

Another way of looking at this is to think in terms of radiation. The planetary group of all who meditate for the well-being of humanity and the earth during the full moon period forms a concentrated centre of thought. It is part of the nucleus of the field of mind and heart formed by all people of genuine goodwill - throughout the world. In the meditation the lighted, loving energies that are invoked flood this nucleus of thought with divine energy. The nucleus radiates, pulsates - it becomes radioactive. As a result this nucleus of concentrated group thought has a conditioning influence on the whole field of goodwill consciousness. This is not some sort of psychic zapping. To my way of thinking it is more honest and correct to consider that the effect of full moon meditations on goodwill networks around the world is similar to the effect that any profound transpersonal work has on one's own psyche. There may, on rare occasions, be a single life-changing moment, but normally we do not expect immediate, obvious, clearly measurable changes in our lives from meditation and study. We are much more likely to see the results if we look at longer periods of time - and if we persist with the transpersonal practices we can expect to see deep changes in our approach to life, our values, the depth and breadth of our love and the purposes for which we apply our will. Even if we don't see the changes ourselves, our friends often do. This is the way we should also be looking at the deeper cultural changes in society. Day to day events will look good one day, bad the next, and 'so so' at the end of the week. But in the longer term, particularly if we look and think in terms of decades or longer chunks of time, we can see the seeds of Aquarius putting down roots into modern culture, and transforming the spirit and structures of society. The radiation of the field of thought that is generated by regular, on-going monthly full moon meditation work, I believe, contributes enormously to this process.

It is from this perspective that we can see how important it is to work with this meditation rhythm as part of a global group with wide, open-ended boundaries. This is not meditation for our personal spiritual advancement - although any truly selfless work to serve in the enlightenment and uplift of humanity will surely have repercussions on our personal growth. This is meditation within the cave of the collective. We might imagine that humanity, the great collective being, is sleeping and in this unconscious state is dreaming and that together with the Angels and Great Ones on the Inner Side we, as a focused group entity, are playing a dynamic role in that dream. As humanity wakes, the dream is forgotten, yet subtle responses begin to occur. We can measure these responses by looking at the way in which the 'Unity in Diversity' paradigm is influencing economic, political, artistic and religious relationships.

"A global group with wide, open-ended boundaries." It is easy for students of any particular tradition to get a little 'exclusive' in their thought patterns. The revealed teachings found in the Alice Bailey books, for example, place a strong focus on the importance of full moon meditation work - so it is easy to get into thinking that full moon meditation equals Alice Bailey inspired work, or that the full moon meditating network is an Alice Bailey inspired network. Yet the reality on the ground is that people from different spiritual, religious and esoteric backgrounds work with this rhythm. There are elements of the contemporary Shamanic tradition, for example, that observe the full moon rhythm. Tibetan Buddhism and branches of Theravada Buddhism schedule specific ceremonies and practices around the full moon period, and have done so for centuries. It is not uncommon to hear of gatherings centred on the 'New Inclusive Spirituality' to be held over the full moon and to incorporate special rituals and meditations to mark the event.

I have recently learned of full moon meetings being held in New York at a remarkable gallery and center for inclusive spirituality, the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. The project of visionary artist Alex Grey, the Chapel features a remarkable collection of paintings exploring the divine nature of the human being. Attracting at times up to 200 people these monthly events include meditation, wisdom, chanting and prayer from all traditions. Find details on the web and check out the paintings at www.cosm.org

These meetings at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, Buddhist gatherings around the world, and the countless other events, including the Bailey inspired gatherings, all form part of the one global group in consciousness, meditating in line with the full moon rhythm. Each circle of interest within the broad meditating group is challenged to hold their particular note - to provide a point of concentrated focus through which different energies can flow - as we do this we can know that all of the different circles working with love of humanity form the One Work and the One Group.

Let's not forget that "a global group with wide, open-ended boundaries" includes the myriads of people who link in as individuals from the privacy of their own homes. The global group is a field of mind and heart - existing outside of space and linear time. In the silence of our own inner temple we experience identification with this group, and can meditate as part of the group. Then we can truly say 'I am one with my group brothers (and sisters) '

Yet this human centred view of the group is only a part of the picture. The beauty of the full moon work is that it brings human beings into a conscious partnership with Great Ones on the inner side. This is the essence of "a global group with wide, open-ended boundaries", just as it is the essence of the One Work. The global group is multi-dimensional. There are superhuman presences together with human presences in the group. As we reach out to the borders of our consciousness, looking inwards and upwards, outwards and downwards we can sense the involvement of these divine presences in the One Work we all share. We can grow so much in our understanding of the nature of Self, and the nature of evolution through pondering on these levels and layers of the One Group and the One Work. And the full moon is a perfect time to foster that pondering. More than anything else it is this multi-dimensional nature of the world service work we share together that leads us gently, over time into an appreciation of the Plan and a purposeful, all-absorbing engagement with the future.

Within this general approach to world service meditations at the time of the full moon there are some very specific insights offered in the teachings contained in the Bailey books that, it seems to me, deserve a wider consideration by the broad body of groups and individuals honouring the full moon rhythm. Firstly there is the vision that the emerging new religious spirit in humanity will increasingly be drawn to this rhythm. Secondly, the suggestion that we need to look to the symbology of the quality and potency of light available during full moon periods in our approach to meditation, prayer and ritual at this time. Third, that through group work at this time we are contributing to the coming together of the inner and outer worlds, in a rhythm of twelve festivals - with three major, dominant festivals setting the note and the high-point for the spiritual year. And fourth there is the idea that the essential work to be done in meditation and prayer at this time is to invoke divine energies on behalf of humanity and the planet. Let's look at these points.

Nobody who has any experience of the inter-faith movement, in any of its multitude of expressions, can doubt that there is enormous vitality here and that an entirely new religious spirit is growing through the dialogue and encounter between different faith groups. What seems to be happening is that the experience of unity in the presence of the sacred, of shared values, and of the primary role of disciplines of meditation, prayer and contemplation sits easily with individuals following a wide diversity of religious and spiritual traditions. Looking one way the differences between the traditions are what stand out, and what draw people to different paths. And looking another way the unity found in deep silence and a shared warm heartedness is what stands out.

The Bailey books suggest that this universal religious spirit will grow exponentially as we move through time, and that increasingly people of different faiths will come together, developing new rituals and sharing in meditative and contemplative work, around the full moon rhythm. The full moon is after all the most dramatic and universal experience we have of a natural planetary rhythm - whether we live in the countryside or in vast metropolitan centers, the full face of the moon continues to inspire us to lift our gaze up to the heavens. It has immediate connotations of mystery, and makes us think of our shared planetary home within the solar system. It is not difficult to imagine that in the future there will be a multitude of inter-faith and specific faith-based gatherings in cities and towns across the world every full moon. With this in mind, full moon groups from all traditions working with an open heart, and individuals consciously linking with the planetary group can be seen to be playing a vital role, pioneering an important aspect of the new religious spirit.

The second key insight on the full moon work from the Bailey perspective is the focus on light. What we see when we look up to the sky (symbolically looking upwards to the higher reaches of Self) is the beautiful face of the moon, radiant and flooded with light. The spiritual significance of this is the light, rather than the moon itself. For this light is not of the moon - the phrase 'moonlight' is misleading. The light we see is reflected sunlight - solar light. As we learn in primary school, the moon acts as a fully round mirror because of its position in relation to sun and earth. When we see the crescent shape the moon is placed between sun and earth - so only the tiniest slither of sunlight is reflected; when we see the fully rounded orb the moon is on the far side of the earth where it can reflect sunlight into those areas of earth that are in the darkness of night-time. The symbology is clear. At full moon the earth is more lighted than at any other time of the month - the daylight of one half of the planet is supplemented by the gentle soft moonlight shining in the darkness of the other side of the planet. It is a perfect time to work in meditation for the enlightenment of all living beings. And it is the time chosen by the Great Ones on the inner side of life to work in conclave, focusing their attention on the long-term work of transforming the Earth into a sacred planet.

So this leads us into the third key insight from the Bailey teachings on the full moon 'Work'. The inner ashrams, Masters and Saints, Dakinis and Angels, use the rhythm of twelve great alignments when the earth is physically flooded with light, to pour divine energies of Light, Love and Purpose into the broad field of human consciousness. Their objective is to stimulate humanity's evolutionary drive towards synthesis, inclusiveness and the sense of the oneness and interdependence of life. These twelve alignments each carry the energies and potencies of great beings of the Cosmos - giving us a flow of incoming energies through the outer sun, the Heart of the Sun and the Central Spiritual Sun. When the sun is conditioned by Aries (as humanity observes the Christian festival of Easter), by Taurus (as humanity often, but not every year, observes the Buddhist festival of Wesak) and by Gemini (when it is suggested humanity will, in a future time, observe a Festival of Goodwill and of Humanity) the energy flow is at its peak, with the greatest concentration of divine energy on humanity and Earth.

And finally, the fourth insight: the primary task for spiritually inclined thinkers and meditators seeking to co-operate with the full moon rhythm is to take humanity's unspoken, unconscious yearning for joy, for light and for love - and to focus it into an invocative meditative appeal to the reservoirs of lighted, loving Being on the inner side of life. The full moon is a perfect time to invoke light, love and spiritual power - because it is the time when these potencies are most abundantly available. It is the time of Light - the time when the Gods are most concentrated in their will to be of service to humanity and the Earth. So this is the moment when, we stand together as a global meditating group calling forth, asking, intelligently and wisely, for humanity to be given fresh insight, understanding, compassion and joy so that we will be assisted in our collective task to create relationships of unity, justice and peace.

I love the thought that in all meditative work for world service, what we are essentially doing, regardless of the faith or spiritual path we follow, is to seek to flood the field of human consciousness with the energies of Loving Kindness, the great energies of the Christ and the Buddha, and as a result to nourish and support everything being done in the world, at every level (personal, family, community, the world) to create more unified, just and peaceful relationships. This means that we are seeking to play our part in the creation of what the United Nations refers to as a culture of peace.

And now, finally, some thoughts on the extraordinary events which have characterized this time when humanity and the earth is being saturated by a double dose of cancer energy, with two full moons in the sign. Cancer tells us about human attitudes and values in the broadest possible sense - it speaks of the dominant interests and concerns of the largest number of people in any society - the sort of base level of consciousness. The energies make us think about elemental instincts to create a home, a place of safety and security - and they suggest that evolution concerns the raising of these instinctive concerns into broader general desires for a more lighted home - for communities that are broadly co-operative, secure and peaceable. This idea of instincts about home really speaks of instinctive desires about what we want from the cities and towns we live in, and from the world community. There is no doubt that the base level of human concerns and conscience is in process of awakening to a more universal, multi-cultural, goodwill perspective than at any previous time in history.

During this Cancer period these base levels of concerns about home have been under extraordinary tension. It is as if the collective mind and heart is being held in a spotlight aimed at mass opinion and perspective. There has been the Make Poverty History campaign with an unprecedented, skillful use of the media and of music and the arts to generate a conversation about issues of poverty and the place of Africa in the modern world. When has a G8 Summit ever been the subject of such widespread popular interest before - and with folk heroes like Bob Geldoff and Bono constantly on the air and in print there is a spirit of joy and lightness about these profound issues of synthesis and human unity. Through the G8 and Live 8 Edinburgh and the London planetary center has been in the spotlight. A light that shone brightly with joy and a real sense of making the home rich, beautiful and exciting when London received news that the city would host the 2012 Olympics. And then all of the darkness of the unrestrained, separative, hate-filled ideology of religious bigotry exploded amidst the people of London. Listening to the endless media coverage of this event there is a sense of the disbelief of the base mass field of consciousness - disbelief that the human heart can wander so far from an instinctive sense of goodness and a feeling for the sacredness of life.

The juxtaposition of these events at this time of Cancer focus shows the light and the dark in an archetypal clash - the sense of universality in opposition to the sense of separation. Clashes like this are not abstract, not about ideas and pleasant discussions over coffee! They are traumatic, painful, straining of the heart - for all of us. And this is the great hope they bring. For in Cancer we can expect the mass, base level of consciousness to grow through the struggle to come to terms with yet another outrage of senseless violence which seems somehow to affect us all in a deeply personal way - just as happened in New York and in Bali. There is no sense in arguing that senseless violence and separative thinking is causing huge pain all over the world - the fact is that some high profile, deeply symbolic tragedies do engage the mass consciousness and this brings an opportunity for people to take a little more responsibility for their sense of human unity and their feeling of a common heart. What is worth noting is that the 'enemy' of the heart is not a particular religion, or a particular brand of religious separatism - it is religious separatism in all of its forms.

In our meditation work over this full moon we can stand as a point of solid heart felt, unshakeable, joy in the oneness of humanity. We can invoke divine aid into this thoughtform of recognized oneness so that it may be lit from within, with a magical radiance.

"Let inner union demonstrate and outer cleavages BE GONE. LET LOVE PREVAIL."