Deep Inner Choices
By Steve Nation
Whether we meditate during the full moon period on our own, or in a local group, we know from direct experience that in this inner work of world service we are never alone. We are part of a community of mind and heart - a group that includes thousands of people from every part of the globe as well as lighted beings on the inner side of life.
I feel especially privileged to have had the opportunity of spending some time with a number of full moon meditation groups in different parts of the world. So when I prepare for the meditation I can begin by thinking in a human, personal way about the meditating community. The faces and special qualities of small groups, for example, in Cork, Ireland; in Benin and Lagos, Nigeria; in Arlington, Texas; in Rio, Niteroi and Resende, Brazil; in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia .... It is good to begin by thinking in this way of family (not family of momma and poppa bear and baby bears - but the family of adults, the family of true siblings). This centres us in the human community and helps us to begin with our feet on the ground. It is with ease that this image then expands in radiating circles to include all the members of the family whose faces and names we do not know and do not need to know. As our sense of group - of community - expands to include all meditating for world service during this period, so we begin, I suspect, to work from that centre of consciousness known as the 'heart in the head'. Isn't that such a beautiful name for a place in which to centre our mind - the heart in the head.
The group meditation that I am most used to working with begins with the phrase; I am one with my group brothers, and all that I have is theirs .... To my mind, if we achieve nothing more through our regular participation in this monthly meditation rhythm than to grow into a profound experience of being one with our group brothers and sisters - of symbolically breathing together as part of a global field of consecrated human thought - we will have achieved great riches. Who am I? I am one of a group; that is who I am. Full moon meditation work can do so much to help us to grow into this understanding.
This sense of group reaches upwards and inwards to embrace the full hierarchy of consciousness - the community of mind and heart as ashram - as field of purposeful, lighted, loving thought centred in the great meditations of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and reaching up to levels of peaceful silent will that speak of the Father's House and are beyond human comprehension.
This month we celebrate the festival of Libra, using as the seed for our reflections in meditation, the thought: 'I choose the way which leads between the two great lines of force'. It might be useful to explore a little the themes of choice, the role choice plays on the spiritual path and the role that choice plays in the evolution of humanity; the image of the balancing scales; and the key Libran quality of the judicial mind.
But before we go into these areas, let's just remind ourselves of two keynotes from Alice Bailey's comments on Libra. First there is the suggestion that the one truly outstanding point of note about Libra is that "it lacks spectacular interest of any kind" (EA 227), in other words that it appears that nothing much happens, there is an absence of crisis and change, except - and this is a big exception - "in the case of disciples and those nearing the Path". In this latter group the changes are momentous. They always involve choice and ultimately lead to a redirection in the purpose and goal that will last for several lives.
The second point, which is I think related to the first, is a curious comment made in Esoteric Astrology. Libra, we are told, is the "master of no-mans land"; it will rule the transition period between the Piscean Age and the Aquarian Age. This is our time; we are living in this transition era. Towards the end of the twentieth century Alice Bailey writes that Libra will come into control and be in a position of power in the planetary horoscope and, because of this there is "no need for real anxiety". (EA238)
Right now, with all the concern about Iraq, the insecurity in the world and the instability in the Middle East, Russia and elsewhere, and the critical elections in the US - what are we to make of this comment that there is no need for real anxiety?
Well I think this refers to deep changes that are occurring in the psyche - the psyche of the vast population of intelligent, thinking individual human beings - and the psyche of the world disciple as a collective being. The path towards right relations and cultures of peace is not a linear process; outer events are not always the best way of measuring what is happening in terms of the nurturing of new values and ethics - deep changes in the psyche tend to suddenly emerge as major factors in politics and the growth of heart in the human community. These points of emergence can occur when we are least expecting them - and they can occur in a totally unexpected way. Libra makes us think about deep inner changes.
It can appear in Libra that not much is happening in the life; that there is not much activity, no great passions driving creative expressions. The image is of equilibrium, balance, poise - the quiet movement in a symphony. It may be that this balanced time comes as an interlude in a life marked by constant swings, and crises; in which case the interlude brings with it the potential for realignment in the tension between one's higher universal insights and understandings and one's more instinctive desires and preoccupations. In the quiet reflection of Libra there is the potential for the balance to change. This is the dynamism of the sign, and it is encapsulated in the very simple word: choice.
The scales, symbol of Libra and symbol of law, measure a particular against a universal. One side of the scales may contain law (universal law) - the other side measures and weighs out actions of an individual or a community in relation to that law. Which way do the scales tip - is action way out of keeping with universal law bringing the scales out of balance? Or is action in some way synchronous with and reflective of universal law - producing fine balance and all the potency of a tension held in perfect balance?
In Libra the focus of the balancing act weighs the mind and heart of the incarnated personal self against the universal powers of love, will and intelligence that is our true Self. On the path a consciousness grows of this balancing process. In the quiet, the interlude of pondering, a clarity emerges and the Libran experience offers the potential for choices to be made to strengthen the qualities of the good the beautiful and the true within ones incarnated mind and heart. Choices, serious choices, about this state of balance bring lasting changes. This is not about becoming the fully redeemed, transformed person. It is about a firm, conscious, sustainable choice of one's life direction. A choice most clearly enunciated by the Buddha in his picture of the noble middle path: a choice to watch with care one's inner state; a choice to take conscious steps to foster dispassion, discrimination and detachment. It is a choice to use the mind's judicial capacity to regulate and direct the way we live our lives.
Consider for a moment the Libran opportunity presented to humanity by the recent global focus on International Day of Peace. In the world of outer events the Day was marked by high drama at the United Nations General Assembly - with key globally reported addresses by George Bush and Kofi Annan. Yet something else was happening away from the international media. There was the beautiful ritual, enacted at 8.30 in the morning when, in the grounds of the United Nations buildings in New York, Kofi Annan rang the Peace Bell - the fiftieth time that the Bell has been rung on International Day of Peace - proclaiming : Today, let the sound of this bell inspire us in our work towards those goals. Let the call of the bell ring loud, clear and true around the world. There must have been hundreds of thousands of people engaged in prayer and meditation vigils directed towards the creation of an environment of mind and heart in which cultures of peace, or right relations, can flourish. At the UN in New York the Meditation Room was used throughout the day in a vigil of prayer and meditation for peace. In Sri Lanka 300,000 people assembled in Colombo in silent meditation - with accompanying calls for a permanent end to violence in the nations' civil war from all leading parties involved: President; Prime Minister; political and religious leaders; leaders of the Tamil Tigers. Over 550 people registered for the Vigil organised by Intuition in Service (and many more linked in without registering) - a good number of these using the Great Invocation in a rhythmic sounding every 15 minutes. Small local events were held in localities all over the planet. Imagine the effect of this inner focus; how it will have contributed to the deep choices that we must make as a human family as we move into the Aquarian era. These choices will be able to be charted by the response humanity makes to the challenges of, for example, the Millennium Development Goals. They will be choices that reflect a growing development of the sense of what the Dalai Lama has called Universal Responsibility - of communities finding new, creative ways to develop and grow in terms of hope, self-esteem, a feeling of inclusion, a joy in the environment and the animals and plants of a community, a sense of challenge and enthusiasm about the future. Libra, and the meditative work of International Day of Peace Vigils around the world, helps us to grow as a species in our will to choose a more just, unified and whole world than we have at present.
In her Libra talk to the Lucis Trust in London in 1992 Jan Nation recounted a story from Kahlil Gibran which gives insight into the way between the 'two great lines of force':
It's a story about a woman whose only child has just died of fever. She is distraught and turns to the doctor, asking: "What was it that made him quiet his striving and silent his song?" The doctor replies, "It was the fever." The mother asks, "What is the fever?" And the doctor replies, "I cannot explain it. It is a thing infinitely small that visits the body, and we cannot see it with our human eye." The doctor leaves and the mother keeps saying to herself, "Something infinitely small. We cannot see with our human eye."
That evening the priest comes to comfort her. She weeps and cries out saying, "Why have I lost my son?" The priest answers, "It is the will of God". The woman asks, "What is God and where is God ... " The priest replies, "God is infinitely vast. He is not to he seen with our human eye." The woman cries out, "The infinitely small has slain my son through the will of the infinitely great! Then what are we? What are we?" At that moment the woman's mother comes into the room with a shroud for the dead boy. She hears the words of the priest and she hears her daughter's cry. She takes her daughter's hand in her hand and she says, "My daughter, we are ourselves the infinitely small and the infinitely great; and we are the path between the two."
The Ageless Wisdom teachings map the way of the disciple. They trace the pathway that links the Most High with everyday human living. The teachings present the razor-edged path as a path of service and a way of love. It is through service and through love that humanity bridges between the infinitely large and the infinitely small; between soul and personality; between spirit and matter.
Jan concluded her Libran talk with these words:
The Tibetan gives a meditation exercise to one of the disciples in the book, Discipleship in the New Age in which the disciple is to "visualise the Soul and Personality together sounding the OM, thinking as you do so of the need of the world and the power of the Soul to meet that need through the medium of aspiration and discrimination". To tread "the way which leads between the two great lines of force" calls for aspiration and discrimination. It calls for us to become the Path through our expression of love and selfless service so that Soul and personality together serve the One life.