So, friends, here we are bathed in the aura of the energies of Libra. What do these energies bring to human beings in transition, and to the grand process of history whereby the human species is birthing a new Aquarian civilisation? These are questions that can be brought into the deep silence of our inner being during this full moon. It is the way we think about them, the love and understanding as well as the sense of dynamic tension, balance and beauty we bring into our ponderings that makes the group energy field invocative, radiatory and magnetic.
For this we need more than anything else, silence … absolute stillness of mind and heart. Only then can we begin to discern those deeper insights and intuitions that carry the imprint of the divine and that allow ashramic energies to flow outwards into the broad field of the collective.
We can begin with this silence by listening … listening to our own breath; listening to the breath of the group with which we sit; listening to the inner sound of the unified rhythm of the breath of those we think of as 'our group', of those around the world who we know to be our deep brothers and sisters - and then listening for a richer, more diverse, more complex rhythm as we tune in to the meditations of the world esoteric group. This is the group of all incarnated human beings who are learning to think with a measure of intelligent love.
Can we just pause there for a moment and reflect a little on this thought. It is sometimes assumed that the world esoteric group consists of people who follow or are studying a particular philosophy, or line of thought. Yet the word 'esoteric' can be defined as being to do with initiates or the initiated - those who know a particular language. To know a language means so much more than to study a language, or to be doing classes on a language - it means to 'speak' it and be able to think in it. This suggests an esoteric group is a group of people who have been initiated at some level - in other words who have moved into a measure of lighted understanding and universal love that is beyond the norm - that their thought life has about it this quality. Most of us will know friends or acquaintances from all sorts of different spiritual and philosophical backgrounds who clearly think with this quality of light and are essentially loving in their mind. So the world esoteric group can be thought of as the group of all who truly are initiated into a measure of intelligent love. It undoubtedly includes people of all cultures, of all economic backgrounds, of a vast array of faiths. Our full moon meditation work identifies this group very clearly, and in the poetic world of the imagination we can listen for the sound of the breath of this world group, and we can imagine it to be flooded with the radiance of the divine.
So let us just do this. In silence identify ourselves with the world esoteric group and hold the group mind in the light. As Jan Nation has said, we can be open to:
the universal quiet which characterises the ceaseless, meditative effort of the spiritual workers in the human family who help keep open the channel of alignment between the consciousness of the Great Ones and the servers in the world. Let us sense that inner quiet - dynamic, poised, receptive, magnetic ….
And let us sound together the Affirmation of a Disciple, saying it, as DK has asked: with your whole heart, as a soul
I am a point of light within a greater Light.
I am a strand of loving energy within the stream of love divine.
I am a point of sacrificial Fire, focussed within the fiery Will of God.
And thus I stand.
I am a way by which men may achieve.
I am a source of strength, enabling them to stand.
I am a beam of light, shining upon their way.
And thus I stand.
And standing thus revolve
And tread this way the ways of men,
And know the ways of God.
And thus I stand.
And so to Libra. The Tibetan's writing on Libra in the volume, Esoteric Astrology, is direct, clear and less abstruse than his writings on many of the signs. We are told that, for disciples, Libran energies have about them the quality of quiet and calm that precedes periods of significant action. It is the calm when although nothing may appear to be happening - in fact there is a great deal happening below the surface and deep serious life choices are being made. Libra governs the 'no mans land' period: before Libra the dominant energies of a life or a series of lives are centred in personality desires; after the Libran experience the life is clearly set on a new path in which soul exerts a strong and determining influence. For the personality the Libran keynote is 'Let choice be made'. For the disciple the keynote is: 'I choose the way which leads between the two great lines of force'. In other words the disciple stands as a human being - in the middle ground between soul and personality - and seeks to direct the life to become more gently filled with soul potency.
The word 'legislation' is used, suggesting standing as the observer - observing the degree to which the life tendency matches up to universal principles and laws (love, right relations, the will to good) and then seeking to govern the life in such a way as to set it on the right path. The thing about Libra is the idea of seeing the way forward in terms of the middle ground - as against the fanatical disciplinarian who sees the path in terms of extremes of black and white. Libra involves making a serious deep choice to move in a particular direction. A part of this experience may involve the fluctuations of choice - first opting for one way forward and then another - having the faculty of choice over-stimulated and being unable to reach decision.
One of the most beautiful insights from the Tibetan's comments on Libra is the thought that this sign governs the transition period for humanity between Pisces and Aquarius - and that Libra will come into a position of power in the planetary horoscope. There is therefore, he says, "no need for real anxiety".
This gives the symbolism and allegorical insights of Libra particular significance in helping us understand world events, our particular period of history, and the evolutionary significance of things that are happening at this time. There is the experience of fluctuating choice, of an apparent over-stimulation of all the different choices that can be made, and a difficulty in reaching decision as to what is the right way forward. This is clearly part of our time - a part of the experience of young people and people of all ages - and also a part of the experiences of communities and nations. There is no clear common pattern.
Yet more significant is the light that Libra shines on the role of law and legislation. Look at all the planning, consultative political processes in all societies now: in the environment, in community issues like school management, parent teacher co-operation, and in wider fields of international relations. This can be likened to the Libran experience 'let choice be made' leading to clear discipleship choices. And I think that this is clearly illustrated in recent developments at the United Nations.
At last month's annual UN conference for civil society, for peoples groups, I was deeply moved by an address given by the Assistant Administrator for the United Nations Development Programme, Bruce Jenks. You can see his address on video on the web (reference at the end of this paper).
He presented an overview of the history of what might be called the development agenda. This is relevant to the esoteric view of the Plan because the development agenda concerns humanity's application of will and intelligence to the work of building a world of right relationships - of sharing and justice and of creating outer relations that reflect the spirit of the One Humanity. This is the agenda where we most clearly see the birthing of Aquarius, the will to govern human behaviour (through legislation and law) in a way that responds to insights of the one humanity and of the value of the individual. This, to my mind, is where we see the sense of synthesis coming into incarnation and leading to the human creation of a new culture and civilisation.
Bruce Jenks spoke of development co-operation in the decades of the 60s, 70s and 80s as a way in which states co-operated with each other so as to reward their allies. "If you look at aid flows you see they were more to do with the Cold War or other types of alliance than with any sense of development objectives." In the 1990s, with the end of the Cold War "what was so exciting for everyone in the development field … was a sense that we could move beyond that kind of world to a time when we could actually look at development objectives .. and start asking about whether we achieve these objectives or not as opposed to simply rewarding our friends." The decade of the nineties, with all the big world conferences on environment, society, population, women and so on was a time when there was deep reflection and definition of development objectives. This culminated in the Millennium Summit at the United Nations in 2000 when world leaders all signed up to the Millennium Development Goals - "the high point in really focussing on objectives". Interestingly just at the time when this deep clarification in thinking and policy was taking place the money for development dried up.
This year new energy is coming into the process with the G8 Summit in Edinburgh; the debt relief agreements that have been made; the commitments by many governments to allocate .7% of gross national income to development assistance; the World Summit at the UN last month and the global campaign led by Sting, Bono, Bob Geldoff and many others to work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015 (these goals include, for example, to reduce by 50% the number of people living in poverty, without access to clean water and sanitation and so on).
In his talk Bruce Jenks spoke of the deep changes that the new thinking has produced in terms of there now being a serious discussion about exactly how you, for example, reduce poverty. The only way of achieving the Millennium Goals, or any other objectives on the development agenda, is through co-operation and partnerships: between governments and between people groups; business; local government etc.. An important part of this new agenda is the recognition that, if the goals are to be achieved, big changes are needed in all parts of the world - in the developed countries as well as the developing countries.
One of the changes in thinking concerns the way in which developing countries and the UN think about poverty reduction strategies in developing countries. One scenario, the one that is in place now, is to think about the level of poverty reduction that is realistically able to be achieved with current finances available through aid and trade. The other scenario which the UNDP is pushing is to ask what resources would be needed and what actions would need to be taken if the country definitely wanted to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. In other words the discussion is about 'what would work'. And we need to remember that a part of this whole process is that each country's efforts are examined on an annual basis to see what progress has been made towards achieving the goals and what will need to be done in the coming year.
It is easy to look at this process in the short term and be very sceptical - on current trends the Goals will clearly not be met; the Summit at the UN last month was bogged down by politics and an inability for nations to agree on reform of the Security Council and other issues in UN reform. But this is a grand process with many steps, and stages. Never before has there been this world-wide attention to what can be achieved and what is the best way to achieve simple goals. Never before have there been major single issue efforts like the malaria campaign or the focus on clean water and sanitation.
Listen to this insight from Salil Shetty, young director of the UN's Millennium Development Campaign:
Our whole take is that we've made this commitment, we know that things are not going at the speed at which we would like them to be going, so [the 2005 World Summit] next week is an opportunity for leaders. So is the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December.
And in between we have the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - we don't see the Summit in isolation from the series of events which are happening in 2005.
Really there is no reason why the Goals can't be achieved in the next ten years. Take Egypt, for example. In eight years time, they were able to halve their maternal mortality rate.
And maternal mortality is one of the slowest indicators to change; normally it's a very difficult one to achieve. So, we still believe the Millennium Development Goals are attainable, but not if we go about them in a lackadaisical way. If we really step up, increase the pressure, and get serious about it, it's still doable.
But definitely not in the way we are moving now. We need a step change.
In the language of esotericism, it seems to me that this new process consciously fosters will and purpose and evokes the magicians of the seventh ray. And we need to remember that it is in the process, in the discussions and muscular negotiations between governments, civil society, local government, business that people choose to change and the world changes. And it is through deep processes like this that Aquarius is being born.
In the light of Libra, we are as a species learning to choose to govern ourselves in such a way as to foster the values of sharing, co-operation and right relations. And we are doing this on a grand, planetary scale.
Out of all the heart energy generated this year through the tsunami, the bombings in London and Bali, the hurricanes in the United States and Central America, and now the earthquake in Pakistan and India - the mind and heart of humanity is being deeply stirred. One result of this is that collectively we are beginning to see the choices facing us as a species in a profound, more real way. The soul can use this opportunity. We are in a hot-house preparing for those serious choices about community, the world and the environment that will ultimately have the effect of setting humanity firmly on the discipleship path. It is what is happening and if we could but see it, this is what all of our lives are about. It is where the will, the love and the meaning is to be found in the apparent insignificance of our individual lives.
So, at this full moon of Libra, we can stand with all who meditate for world service at this time, open to insight and impression on the keynote:
I choose the way which leads between the two great lines of force.
www.un.org/webcast/SE2005.html (select 7 September 2005 NPI/NGO Panel Discussion on 'In Larger Freedom: The Challenge of Partnerships' - Bruce Jenks is the final speaker)