The sign Leo conditions this full moon period. Esoteric groups are pondering the nature of self. Divine consciousness must be immersed in matter and identified with the incarnated self before it can begin to move into a wider and purer self. Leo focuses our attention on the spiral of self-identification, and it helps us to observe the role that crisis plays in the reforming and redefinition of our sense of self.
In the meditation work being done around the world much of the active thinking will be penetrating into an understanding of the keynote: 'I am That, and that am I'. All very well to pronounce such a phrase as an abstract idea - but think about what it will be when each of us identifies ourselves as 'That' in expression. Waking and sleeping; working and playing; fully present in the world as 'That' - detached and poised - conscious of oneself as the universal Presence, so that all the desires, attachments, opinions and flavors of the personal 'I' are experienced and known as reflections of Oneness. That's quite a goal that lies ahead of you and I.
Let's begin by lifting the mind into the idea that 'I' am not who I tend to think of myself as being. This incarnated 'I', with all of its characteristics, was born and will die - yet all the time the deeper, more universal 'I' of the soul which persists beyond death waits to be approached and is available to become a solid point of identity. Think about what it means to shift our self-identity - not as an abstract but as a fact. The 'I' of the soul infused personality - what might that sense of identity, and of self-awareness be like. Personality is infused by the sense of group purpose, the detached love and the hierarchical perspective of the soul - still very human but the soul expressing itself through the human in such a way that there is no duality, no separate soul and personality identity. The 'I' of experience and expression is the 'I' of soul. It's worth thinking about. Yet through the drama of lifetimes to come we are each destined to experience an even more universal sense of 'I' - the 'I of 'That' - for 'I' am the divine and through this journey of incarnations you and I are in process of becoming fully conscious of ourselves as a divine being in incarnation. We tend to think of this from our human perspective - how our experience of life will change. Yet in this age of relativity it is also useful to consider the process from the perspective of the divine. Not only 'I am That', but also 'That am I'. As 'That' become conscious in individualized human units, the divine is able to radiate through the worlds of mind and emotion with potency and focus - redeeming, saving, revealing and transforming. When 'I am That' it is God's work that I am preoccupied with - and less this sound too mystical, God's work reaching right into the essence of the material and physical realms.
So can we be quiet for a moment as we ponder the nature of self-identity and then sound, together, that most ancient of prayers, the Gayatri
O Thou Who givest sustenance to the universe,
From Whom all things proceed
To Whom all things return,
Unveil to us the place of the true Spiritual Sun
Hidden by a disc of golden Light
That we may know the Truth
And do our whole duty
As we journey to Thy sacred feet.
Leo and the sense of self is said to be a burning ground that must be passed through in preparation for initiation. Evolution is all about the unfolding of consciousness. Human awareness represents the unfolding of self-awareness: tribal consciousness and mass consciousness lead into a strong sense of individuality - initially separate from other individualities and intently aware of 'my' world, 'my' family, 'my' nation and so on.
Yet this 'my-ness' brings with it a fire that burns and destroys everything which hides and masks the real - the fire of purification. It is appropriate and right for the personal self to become a Lion that roars. This is part of the soul's work of building up a vehicle of mind, emotion and body. Yet the roaring lion, in time, senses another self - a more glorious alive and lighted self - and then the lion must be tamed. Once the lower mind has recognized that it has a higher more intuitive and universal aspect there is no escaping this process. The impulse to think with and through the higher mind requires that the lion be tamed and the appetites disciplined.
The self of the lion that roars no longer satisfies when there is an urge to know this new, higher self. "Know thyself" becomes the motto and the lion turns its face away from the outer world into an intense focus on self-mastery. The important thing to note is that this process is self-chosen - it is not something that comes from outside.
One of the great gifts that Leo brings to the spiritual path is the potentiality to rule the incarnated self with a self-directed purpose. And when that purpose is illumined by the higher mind it synchronizes with the greater purposes of divinity - with what esotericists refer to as the plans and dynamics of the great ashram, hierarchy.
This whole idea of self-awareness passing through a burning ground as it re-forms around impressions from the subtle, intuitive dimensions of mind is, I think, a fine way of approaching the meaning of our times. At an individual level as well as a group and national level the sense of identity is shifting. Notions of wholeness and interdependence - revelations from the higher mind - are shining through the literature, the professions and disciplines of our age. It is difficult to ignore these impressions because they are placed before us in the media, in the arts - and because they are becoming elemental to the political arena at a time when more and more human beings are becoming engaged in politics in what might be called a whole-life way. In other words politics is reaching into our sense of self - the little politics of narrow-minded debates is becoming soul-sized politics through such issues as climate change, race relations, responsible and sustainable economics. And all of this is part of a very Leonine shift in the nature of self-identity.
Gordon Brown, UK Prime Minister, voiced this shift beautifully in a recent talk, Wiring the Web for Global Good, which can be seen online at: http://www.ted.com/talks/gordon_brown.html He speaks with passion about the way in which the web is revealing to us the invisible ties and bonds of sympathy that bring us together to become a human community. The development of the communications media, he suggests, have created an opportunity: … we are the first generation that is in a position to create a truly global society…. Combine the power of a global ethic with the power to communicate and organize globally with the challenges that we now face, most of which are global in their nature … the great project of our generation is to build for the first time out of our global ethic and our global ability to organize and communicate together a truly global society built on that ethic but with institutions that can serve a global society….
In the light of Leo we can imagine that an expanding sense of self is allowing a truly global society to emerge. A human community that embraces all peoples and all cultures means that increasing numbers identify themselves as part of the human family - it means that the revelation of wholeness reaches right down into their self-awareness and their identity. Only as this happens does it become possible for national communities to apply the discipline and sacrifice needed if we are to respond appropriately to the global challenges of climate change, poverty and security.